It was the middle of the year which heralds the end of the annual fiscal period and the beginning of a new one. On June 8, 1971, the 1971-72 budget estimates for the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) amounting to Rs1,142.68 lakhs (114.268m) was passed by the authority’s governing body. The important feature of it was that ‘consequent upon’ the completion of the second phase of the Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply Scheme at a cost of Rs853 lakhs during the current financial year, an additional water supply of 70MGD (gallons per day) had become available.

A few days later, on June 12, KDA’s director general Illahi Bux Soomro addressed a press conference at COD Hills Filter Plant saying that the KDA was trying to supply pure drinking water to the city but if “there were any lapses on its part it would take remedial measures to minimise water contamination.” He admitted that on occasion there was a possibility of contamination at a few points, particularly as the water passed through the network of small pipelines.

The issue of the lack of supply, however, wasn’t going away anywhere, be it on the KDA’s watch or not. On the morning of June 7, residents of North Nazimabad (Block I and II) were deprived of fresh water for about seven hours. Their water connection was suspended following a leakage in a pipe maintained by the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC). The connection was restored in the afternoon.

Speaking of the corporation, on June 11, the KMC Lyari Water and Sewerage Scheme workers who were paid on a daily basis refused to accept Rs50 currency notes when their wages were being given. The workers whose number ran into many hundreds declined them arguing they found it difficult to cash the notes in the market. Earlier, the corporation had to suspend payment of daily wages workers because of closing of banks following the government decision to demonetise Rs500 and Rs100 notes.

The issue of demonetisation was in the news for a different reason on June 9. According to a news report, a sense of sensation prevailed for the whole day near Burnes Road because 500 and 100 rupee demonetised notes were seen floating in a nullah opposite the Government Women’s College. It attracted hundreds of people who wanted to have a look at it. Passersby, car drivers and motorcycle riders stopped and peeped at the open drain to see what was going on. Residents said it was first made known to them in the morning. They presumed someone might have dumped the currency in the dead of the night. When ‘overenthusiastic’ boys jumped into the nullah they found most of the notes torn but all had overprints of ‘Bangla Desh’ or Joy of Bangla on them.

And on the morning of June 12, Mohammad Feroz Abdullah, 35, the man who killed four persons including the Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland on Nov 1, 1970 was executed at Karachi’s Central Jail. Feroz, who was in the employment of PIA as a driver, had rammed a catering van into the dignitaries present at the airport to receive the then Polish president, Marshal Marian Spychalski, killed four and injured over a dozen people. He was sentenced to death by a military court and his mercy appeal to the president was rejected a week back.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2021

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