Opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh casts doubts over govt’s rain emergency claims

Published July 4, 2022
Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh talks to residents in Mehmoodabad on Sunday. — Photo courtesy Haleem Adil Sheikh Twitter
Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh talks to residents in Mehmoodabad on Sunday. — Photo courtesy Haleem Adil Sheikh Twitter

KARACHI: As the city braces for monsoon rains, the fears of Karachiites of urban flooding like past were echoed by political circles on Sunday when Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh alleged that some 540 storm water drains falling within the jurisdictions of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and District Municipal Corporations (DMCs) concerned were filled with garbage posing serious threat to the city.

Also, Sindh Labour Minister and city president of the Pakistan Peoples Party Saeed Ghani during a visit to major nullahs issued directives to relevant officials to speed up their emergency measures before start of rains.

The opposition leader, who paid a visit to different parts of the metropolis, called the garbage-filled drains a serious negligence on the part of the Sindh government in coping with torrential rains and demanded urgent steps to save the megacity from urban flooding.

Talking to reporters during his visit to areas around Gujjar Nullah and Mehmoodabad Nullah, he said it was the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government that took up the task of cleaning drains after 2020 rains and forced the provincial administration to do its part of the job.

Saeed Ghani orders fast cleaning of major nullahs

“The fact is that three main drains of Karachi — Gujjar Nullah, Mehmoodabad Nullah and Orangi Nullah — were cleaned by the federal government of the PTI,” he said. “It was the responsibility of the Sindh government to get cleaned 40 nullahs of KMC and 500 nullahs of DMCs. But unfortunately these drains are still filled with garbage and in case of urban flooding Karachi could witness the worst situation.”

He described the measures taken by the government as ‘artificial’, ‘insufficient’ and ‘photo sessions’ when the Sindh ministers paid visits to such places.

He alleged that practically the ministers only took interest in ‘misappropriation’ of funds set aside for cleaning of drains every year in the budget.

“The Sindh government has still not paid any compensation to the people affected by demolition of houses built along Gujjar Nullah,” said the opposition leader. “Our government in the Centre had issued Rs34 billion and work on Gujjar Nullah should have been completed by June. But the PPP government in Sindh has no concerns about the sufferings of people. It only knows how to manipulate things for corruption and vested interests.”

Saeed Ghani’s visit to different areas

Sindh Minister for Labour and Human Resources Saeed Ghani, who was also appointed by the Sindh chief minister as focal person for rain emergency in East district, visited different areas, including Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Sharea Faisal, Urdu University Road, Nursery and Mehmoodabad to review rain emergency measures.

Along with the deputy commissioner of district East and DMC-East administrator, the provincial minister issued directives to speed up all the rain-related measures.

Earlier, he asked the officials concerned to set up a control room in the office of DMC-East with representatives of relevant agencies to tackle any situation in case of a rain emergency in Karachi.

Chairing a meeting, the minister said the each official from KMC, DMCs, relevant cantonment board, Karachi police, traffic police, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board and other relevant agencies should remain present in the control room, which would operate round the clock, for taking necessary steps to deal with any emergency.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2022

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