KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said Monday reports of Pakistan’s financial capital being given under the federation’s control were merely a “bubble of hot air and would fizzle out itself”.
Shah was visiting different districts of the city to inspect removal of animal waste after Eid-ul-Adha and ongoing cleaning work at nullahs. He was accompanied by Education Minister Saeed Ghani, Local Government Minister Nasir Shah and his advisor, Senator Murtaza Wahab.
Addressing a journalist’s question about the reports pertaining to Karachi, Shah said such comments were made by “politically immature” people and political “orphans”.
The journalist had asked the chief minister about his thoughts on the statements from a federal minister and some other responsible individuals that Karachi would be made a federally-administered territory under Article 149 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Earlier, PTI MPA from Karachi, model Abbas Jafri, had said on his Facebook page Karachi was soon “to be administered federally”.
“Article 149-4 states that the Federal Govt has authority to direct any province to be administered federally,” he had added. “Ab hoga Karachi azaad!!”
However, Shah advised the media not to take politically immature and political orphans seriously and said such statements were beyond comprehension.
“Yes, the nullahs are being cleaned every year but, due to encroachment issues, some of the portions of nullahs are always leftover from cleaning; therefore, they get choked during heavy rains,” he said while responding to a question.
Shah added that under the World Bank’s Solid Waste Ecological Enhancement Project (SWEEP) project, Karachi’s nullahs were being cleaned.
“I am telling the people loudly that the World Bank has not released funds so far and whatever funds are being utilised have been released by our government from its own resources,” he said, adding that he would redress all the major drainage and infrastructure issues in consultation with the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and Karachi Development Authority (KDA).
Visit to offal-dumping site
The chief minister visited the offal-dumping site in Qayyumabad where a proper camp was set up to record the weight of animal waste brought there.
Sindh Solid Waste Management Board Managing Director Kashif Gulzar briefed Shah, saying more than 31,050 tonnes of offal was removed from six of the city’s districts up to August 2. This, he added, included 9,351, 7,892, 5,918, 4,151, and 3,738 from the East, South, West, Korangi, and Malir districts, respectively, while the figure from the Central district was yet to be compiled.
Gulzar told the chief minister that 85 offal collection points had been set up all over the city from where they were being dumped at Gondpas, Sharafi Goth garbage transfer station, ‘Jam Chakro,’ and Korangi Crossing.
Mehmoodabad and Gujjar nullahs
After visiting Qayyumabad, Shah went to the Mehmoodabad nullah — or the Zahri House Nullah — at Shahrah-e-Faisal, where a major choking point was dug up to clear it.
SWEEP Project Director Zubair Channa told the chief minister that the Mehmoodabad nullah coming from Tipu Sultan Road was clear but had a serious choking point under Shahrah-e-Faisal.
The chief minister examined that portion of the nullah and noticed that its design was in a zigzag shape, which he said would “always remain to be a problematic point”.
“Therefore, a straight crossing should be constructed under the road along the existing zigzag culvert,” he said, directing officials to reconstruct it accordingly.
At Gujar nullah at Liaquatabad No. 4, residents of the area told the chief minister that rainwater had choked the drain and, as a result, gushed alongside sewage into their streets and houses. Shah then directed the municipal commissioner to clear their homes and report to him.
Green Line issues
DMC Central Chairperson Rehan Hashmi also briefed the chief minister at Saifee College, saying the Green Line Project’s pillars had been constructed within the nullah.
“This construction has narrowed down the drain; therefore, rainwater could not get through, as a result, it [nullah] overflowed and flooded the entire area,” Hashmir said.
The DMC Central official added that the entire Green Line project track — from KDA Chowrangi to Nagan Chowrangi — was constructed either along or within the nullah. It was a serious design defect, he added, and without rectifying it, the area could not be made safe from the havoc wreaked by heavy downpours.
Hashmi explained that the Hyderi Market was inundated with rainwater because the nullah was also blocked due to the Green Line construction.
The chief minister visited Nagar Chorwangi, KDA Chowrangi, and Hyderi Market, personally inspecting the problematic points. He assured the official that he would take up the matter with the federal government and resolve the design defects.
The CM also urged the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (SIDCL) — alternatively known as Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Limited (KIDCL) — to consult with the locals before launching any project.
“The discussion would reduce the chances of duplication of the works and design defects,” he added.
Shah noted that he would visit Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, and Tharparkar — where the next spell of the heavy downpour was anticipated to hit high from August 6.