Karachi: Serious efforts have been made after Eid Al Adha by several government agencies to save Karachi from urban flooding, which otherwise becomes a common occurrence every time the city receives heavy downpours during the monsoon season.
Several parts of the city become submerged followingheavy rain due to blockages in storm water drains caused by the constant dumping of solid waste and sewage in them. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah acknowledged the age-old sewerage system in the city is major issue. The Sindh government - which has been in power in the province for last 12 years - has often been criticized by ppposition political parties for neglecting the development of Karachi including the revamp of its system of municipal governance.
Under the mandate directly given by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been supervising the work being done to clear storm water drains of the city. The NDMA has engaged the services of Frontier Works Organization (FWO) - the premier construction agency of Pakistan Army - to “de-silt” storm water drains of the city.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the spokesman for the NDMA said that the FWO till the previous day had lifted 10,000 tonnes solid waste from the three major drains of Karachi.
He said that some 42 points in the passage of the three drains had been identified where free flow of the storm water was blocked due to the issue of silt and solid waste. He said that out of these 42 “Choking points” 35 had been cleared till Thursday. He said that the FWO had been given the task to clear the three storm water drains till August 08 (Saturday).
He said that the chairman of NDMA had been in constant contact with the FWO and other relevant civic agencies to conclude the waste disposal task in Karachi at the earliest. He said that the prime minister was being briefed on a daily basis on the progress being made to clear the passage of storm water drains in the city.
Praising the work carried out by the federal agencies in Karachi, a Karachi-based leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (the political party of Prime Minister Imran Khan) Khurrum Sher Zaman said that the FWO had conducted in just three days the solid waste disposal work in the city, which had remained unattended for last 12 years. He said that the FWO had saved the city from any major municipal emergency. Referring to Pakistan Peoples Party’s 12 years rule in the province, he said that funds for carrying out such municipal tasks had been misappropriated.
While praising the emergency municipal work being carried out by the NDMA in Karachi, Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the Sindh government would continue to extend cooperation to all such relevant federal agencies for the sake of the people of the city.
He said that given the vast area and huge population of Karachi, it had become imperative that the federal government should also play its role whenever the city faces any emergency or disastrous situation. He said that Sindh government would extend unconditional support to whatever steps being launched by the federal government to improve the infrastructure of the city.
The Sindh government on its part has been utilizing a World Bank-assisted programme to carry out such waste disposal work in the city on an emergency basis.
Meanwhile, rain began to fall in Karachi for the fourth spell under the current monsoon season on Thursday afternoon. During the last spell of monsoon rains late last month, a catastrophic situation emerged in various parts of Karachi due to floodwater. Shah has ordered that all relevant civic and municipal authorities in the province should remain fully alert to deal with rain-related emergency situations.
Special dewatering machinery is being deployed in the districts of the province, which are expected to receive heavy rain this time. The CM has dispatched his cabinet colleagues and legislators of his Pakistan Peoples Party to 27 such districts of the province to supervise emergency relief and municipal work in the aftermath of rain to save people from hardship caused by flooding.