KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday expressed resentment over officials of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) for not convening meetings of technical experts and stakeholders to resolve the drainage issue despite its repeated orders.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi was hearing two petitions filed against the sewerage infrastructure that caused flooding during the torrential rains in areas of DHA and Cantonment Board Clifton in 2020.

The court once again ordered the DHA and petitioners to hold meetings and to complete this exercise within 30 days and minutes of the meetings should be placed in court before Dec 6.

It also directed DHA officials to give a presentation to the participants of meetings about the work to be done for the project. It further said that time be provided to the petitioners and their experts to give their opinion before DHA officials and their consultants.

Gives one month to stakeholders to hold meetings and file minutes

On Oct 10, the bench had for the second time directed the DHA to convene a meeting of technical experts and stakeholders on Oct 25.

When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, Advocate Syed Mohammad Yahya, counsel for one of the petitioners, submitted that he had written a letter to DHA in the light of court’s previous order. He said that the DHA neither responded nor convened the meeting.

DHA lawyer Shahzaib Akhtar Khan contended that the counsel in his letter had sought full video recording of the proceedings and he wanted to bring 13 experts, which was unreasonable.

The court order stated that the lawyer for DHA undertook to intimate date, time and venue of the meetings to the lawyers for petitioners who were also allowed to attend such meetings along with two experts.

It said the names of such experts should be conveyed to the DHA in advance within seven working days.

On Sept 14, the SHC had ordered a meeting of all stakeholders after the NED University of Engineering and Technology in its report about evaluation of drainage infrastructure in DHA had stated that existing design might be inadequate if storm water drainage system was also catering sewerage flow.

Initially, around 60 residents had filed a petition before SHC and sought formation of a committee to supervise sanitation projects and conducting a forensic audit of the CBC and DHA accounts after the auditor general’s report found irregularities. Later, another identical petition was also filed.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2022

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