A fruit vendor pushes his cart across a flooded street following heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on July 26, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Karachi: The economic and health problems of Karachi residents have multiplied due to poor road infrastructure in the city that is constantly being damaged due to back-to-back spells of heavy monsoon rains.

Craters and potholes have developed on all major roads and streets in every part of Karachi. The monsoon rains have severely damaged the drainage and sewerage systems in the city, creating serious problems for motorists.

Craters on the roads are often filled with rainwater or wastewater that seriously impedes the smooth flow of traffic, besides damaging four-wheelers and two-wheelers. The vehicle owners are left with no option but to spend extra money on the repair of their cars and motorcycles but doing so creates an immense financial burden on them due to high inflation.

People wade across a flooded street after heavy monsoon rainfall in Karachi on July 25, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, told Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, during a video conference that the rains had damaged 35 sewerage lines of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board, besides damaging a number of main roads in the city.

A recent meeting of the Sindh cabinet decided to start the assessment of damaged roads, sewerage, and drainage lines in Karachi so that the federal government could be approached for special financial assistance to restore the vital civic infrastructure in the city.

Vehicles navigate a flooded road after a heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, July 8, 2022. Image Credit: AP

The cabinet decided to immediately release Rs 1.5 billion for the repair of the roads on seven routes of the newly launched People’s Bus Service in the city.

Spine problems

Hundreds of thousands of office-goers who use motorcycles in Karachi have started complaining of backache and spine-related health issues due to bumpy bike ride on uneven roads.

Prof Dr Muhammad Wasay, President of Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation, said that young people in Karachi in their 30s were diagnosed with the issue of degenerative spine after constant use of two-wheelers.

Prof Dr Abdul Malik, a consultant neurologist, said that bikers in Karachi had been developing spinal disk problems quite often as shock absorbers on motorcycles were either not properly maintained or of poor quality, which couldn’t withstand the rough drive on the roads of Karachi.

Civic emergency

A 17-member delegation of Muttahida Quami Movement Pakistan (MQM) recently met the Sindh CM and also urged him to expeditiously start work to repair damaged roads and restore essential civic services in Karachi and Hyderabad.

The issue was also repeatedly highlighted by the Opposition lawmakers in the recently concluded session of the Sindh Assembly. The lawmakers belonging to MQM and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said that numerous roads in Karachi had been reduced to bumpy dirt tracks after recent rains that could only be used by armoured vehicles or costly four-wheel-drive jeeps. They urged the Sindh government to launch the road and sewerage repair work by declaring a civic emergency in the city.

Commuters drive through a flooded street following heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on July 26, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Top bureaucrat of Sindh, Dr Sohail Rajput, during an interaction with the concerned city’s businessmen at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the provincial government had also allocated Rs 2.5 billion for the repair of damaged roads and civic infrastructure of the provincial capital.

Sindh Labour Minister, Saeed Ghani, said the Sindh government was fully aware that a number of roads and alleys had been in shambles in Karachi following heavy downpour as their repair work would be launched as soon as the current monsoon season ends.