KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Friday that the five spells of unprecedented heavy rain claimed 80 lives, including 47 in the city, and the sixth spell was also anticipated.
This he said while addressing a press conference at the CM House. He was accompanied by provincial ministers Mukesh Chawla, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah and Adviser Murtaza Wahab.
The CM said that on Aug 27 Karachi received a 230mm rainfall and if the average of the entire rainfall on Thursday was calculated, it would be over 150mm. “This is unprecedented [rain] and has broken all the previous records,” he said and added that the intensity of the rain could be assessed from the fact that the previous night he had visited the city and his vehicles got stuck and finally he had to disembark.
“When I stepped in the water on the road, I found it was over four feet deep and I could not visit Nursery,” he said and added: “Finally, late night I visited four districts of the city and reviewed dewatering and disposing of rainwater.”
Replying to a question about the power of the mayor, Mr Shah said that some people were perplexed to get power they were given under the SLGO-2002. “In that SLGO-2002 they had revenue powers to allot land and had the authority to make direct recruitments,” he said and added: “Under those powers, the champions of SLGO-2002 had commercialised all the residential areas in the city, allotted land along the embankments and in the bed of storm-water drains.”He said, they made direct and illegal recruitment in the KMC, water board and DMCs to such an extent that these organisations have yet to recover from the financial pressure of their salaries bill. “This is what they want — I mean they want to wreak havoc with the organisations once again,” he said.Murad Ali Shah said that the PPP chairman was worried about the relief work in the city and he kept calling him on his mobile phone after every hour to get him updated.
Removal of illegal structures
Murad Ali Shah said that all the encroachments from storm- water drains and government lands would be removed without any discrimination. “We would not bulldoze only small structures but all the petrol pumps, plazas and commercial buildings,” he said and added that the names of the encroachers or names of the buildings or establishments constructed illegally would be made public. Those who were involved in China cutting and illegal allotment of lands would face the music. “Everyone is criticising the Sindh government but nobody is exposing those who had allotted the lands, allowed illegal structures under their nose and made illegal recruitments,” he deplored.
Survey of losses
The CM said that the heavy rains had caused heavy losses to life and property all over Sindh. “Therefore, I have directed the chief secretary to start a survey of all the losses so that they could be compensated accordingly,” he said. He added that these losses, including the damage caused to buildings, life, katcha and pucca houses and standing crops would be documented. “Once the losses are assessed and estimated, the report would be sent to the prime minister who has assured me of his support. “I am sure he [the PM] will help us,” he said. Murad Ali Shah said that he has got a report from local bodies about the houses which have submerged so that necessary planning to save them in future could be taken. He added that the Paposh area has suffered huge losses and “I am also conducting a survey of the losses caused to business activities so that they could be helped,” he said. The CM said that it had been the history and record of the PPP government which always compensates the losses and the damages. “We would form a committee to help the people,” he vowed.
The chief minister, replying to a question, said that the appointment of administrator of KMC and other local bodies’ was the power of the provincial government and we would appoint, as far as consultation was concerned, it could be made with the federal government. “This is clear that the Sindh government would appoint an administrator in Karachi,” he said. The gossip being made about the appointment of the administrator would come to an end within the next two days. “I have not heard the statement of the Sindh governor about the appointment of KMC administrator by the federal government,” he said and added that if he had given such a statement it was wrong.
Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2020