SC stays construction on land retrieved from sea, seeks report from KDA

Published June 16, 2021
The bench also issued notices to the proposed owners of the plots on which Com 1, Com 4, Com 5 malls etc are said to be built. — White Star/File
The bench also issued notices to the proposed owners of the plots on which Com 1, Com 4, Com 5 malls etc are said to be built. — White Star/File

KARACHI: The Supreme Court directed the director general Karachi Development Authority to produce a comprehensive report about a piece of land alleged to have been allotted after it was retrieved from the sea in Clifton and stayed all construction activities on it.

The SC also asked the KDA DG to turn up with the original plan of the KDA regarding Clifton and Kehkashan schemes on Wednesday (today).

The bench also issued notices to the proposed owners of the plots on which Com 1, Com 4, Com 5 malls etc are said to be built.

Earlier, the SC had also put on notice the owner of a recently constructed building (Com 3 Mall) adjacent to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park in Clifton and sought a report after it was informed that the plot was a part of the park.

Wapda chairman, K-IV project director summoned with report today

A representative of a non-governmental organisation, Shehri-Citizens for a Better Environment, had informed the bench that the plot belonged to the park.

Some officials had also argued that the Sindh Revenue Board had allotted the land, but the chief justice said the SRB had nothing to do with it as the land belonged to the KDA.

A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed in its order issued on Tuesday also passed directives to the Karachi commissioner to implement its earlier orders and remove all encroachments from Kidney Hill Park till Wednesday, and warned that the court would be constrained to pass a coercive order if he failed to comply.

Shortage of water

The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board managing director contended before the bench that the provincial metropolis was getting 550 million gallons of water per day against the required 1,200mgd.

The KWSB MD further maintained that 450mgd was being supplied from the Keenjhar Lake and 100mgd from the Hub Dam and added that there was a need of 1,200mgd for the city and the Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme, commonly known as K-IV, would provide additional supply of 650mgd to bridge the deficit.

He further asserted that the K-IV project was initiated in 2007 and Rs25 billion was approved for its phase-I and Rs11bn had already been spent on it and now the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had taken over the project on the intervention of the federal government.

The chief justice wondered whether the water supply through K-IV could reach the city as there were apprehensions that the same may be consumed by the housing societies located on the outskirts of the city.

The bench directed the chairman of Wapda and the project director of K-IV to turn up with a report regarding the status of K-IV on Wednesday.

In 2018 a Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation issues of Sindh had expressed annoyance over the failure of the authorities concerned in providing any substantial material about the 22 realignments in the K-IV project and warned that it might refer the matter to the National Accountability Bureau after an application was filed against the realignments.

A resident of Usman Allah Rakhio Goth in Gadap Town had filed an application before the commission contending that the alignments, approved in 2016, were the only straight and shortest possible time/money-saving route, but the applicant alleged that the realignment of the project was based on mala fide intentions to achieve ulterior motives and to benefit Bahria Town Karachi.

Meanwhile, during the hearing of a matter about water supply to the residents of Defence Housing Authority, the chief executive officer of Cantonment Board Clifton and the KWSB MD told the court that neither the CBC was able to provide water to its residents nor could the KWSB supply water to the residents of Karachi.

They said the CBC was not getting its share of water (9mgd) from the KWSB as was agreed upon in 1999.

‘KWSB should be shut down’

The CJP came down hard on KWSB MD Asadullah Khan and CBC CEO Saleem Hassan for their failure to provide water and remarked that the KWSB should be shut down as it had failed to achieve the basic purpose for which it had been established.

He also asked the CBC CEO that, admittedly, they were not in a position to provide water to the people then why they were continuously working on the expansion of the DHA.

The CJP further said that the business of water supply through tankers was going on and huge money was being charged from the residents of Karachi and these tankers were taking water from the supply lines of the KWSB.

Larkana commissioner, Jacobabad DC summoned

The bench summoned the commissioner of Larkana and the deputy commissioner of Jacobabad with four officials of the education department after an applicant submitted that hotels were built and run on the premises of schools in Jacobabad and the district administration was helpless since some local education officials were very influential.

It directed the district police officer of Jacobabad to ensure that all these officials would appear before the court on Wednesday.

A copy of the application was also provided to the Sindh advocate general, who sought time to obtain instructions.

Amenity plot

The bench asked the senior director of the anti-encroachment cell to remove encroachments from an amenity plot after it was informed that the plot located in Block 15, Scheme 16, on Rashid Minhas Road adjacent to the UBL Cricket Ground was encroached upon and some construction work was being carried out on it.

The bench also directed the Karachi commissioner to ensure that a proper park was built on it and the same was not used for any commercial purpose.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2021

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