KMC contractors stop road repair over non-payment of dues

Updated 16 Nov 2020

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Karachi Municipal Corporation Building situated at M.A Jinnah Road and a sight of Downtown Karachi. — Photo by Aliraza Khatri/File
Karachi Municipal Corporation Building situated at M.A Jinnah Road and a sight of Downtown Karachi. — Photo by Aliraza Khatri/File

KARACHI: While the provincial government seems to have focused on mega projects with international donor organisations’ support, the repair and maintenance work of roads and streets in almost every part of the city has long been halted by the contractors of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) due to non-payment of their dues, piling miseries on people.

While confiding this to Dawn, informed sources said that several contractors assigned the repair and maintenance of roads, flyovers and bypasses had abandoned work on the ongoing projects as they had not been paid any money for the works they had already done.

They said that the city and district administrators of Karachi had also failed to get the funds released from the provincial government, which, however, released funds for the uplift and development work in other districts of the province.

Former city mayor Wasim Akhtar termed the non-release of funds for the projects of Karachi sheer injustice and said that total liability of contractors from budget book was Rs11 billion from 2012 till date.

He said that the KMC was to receive Rs3.3bn in four quarters till May 2020, but the provincial government released only first-quarter amount, i.e. Rs625 million.

“How can contractors be paid their bills when KMC has not received money from the provincial government?” he said and added that this showed the non-seriousness of PPP-led Sindh government towards the civic and municipal issues of the city that generated funds for the whole country.

Sources in the municipal administration said that there was a shortage of over Rs2.5bn in the last fiscal year that affected over 400 uplift schemes.

They said that work on over 200 schemes relating to repair and maintenance of roads, streets, pavements, drainage and sewerage had come to a grinding halt due to non-payment of approved bills of the contractors who had now literally stopped all types of work.

The sources said that a large number of internal roads in almost every locality of the city were in a dilapidated condition after the last monsoon rains and they needed immediate repair and maintenance.

They said that the halted schemes included repair and maintenance of University Road from Jail flyover to Hasan Square, patch work at various main roads from Liaquatabad to North Karachi, Rashid Minhas Road from Imtiaz Super Market to Sharea Faisal, several roads in Federal B Area, Model Colony, Khokhrapar, Korangi, Malir, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Sir Shah Suleman Road from Essa Nagri onwards, Shahrah-i-Quaideen up to Sharea Faisal, Jahangir Road from Teen Hatti to Gru Mandir, different roads in Gulshan-i-Iqbal and Gulistan-i-Jauhar and several other roads in districts West and East.

The pending schemes also include drainage and sewerage works in many parts of the city. The dilapidated roads and leaking sewerage pipes and drains are also visible in many parts of the city.

Shortfall exceeds Rs3.3bn

KMC insiders told Dawn that the shortfall of the funds of the city’s municipal administration under the District Annual Development Plan had exceeded Rs3.325bn till September.

The chairman of the Karachi Constructor Association (KCA), S.M. Naeem Kazmi, was of the view that the fragile civic infrastructure of the city was bound to collapse if repair and maintenance of the roads was not immediately restored.

He said that their body was considering moving the Sindh High Court for payment of contractors’ dues.

Mr Kazmi said that the contractors had stopped work on municipal uplift schemes as they were not paid their approved bills.

He said that the contractors would not be in a position to continue work on municipal projects due to lack of funds as their bills were not paid to them.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2020