Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar claimed on Monday that the biggest issue for the city is acute water shortage. He said he would ask the caretaker chief minister (CM) to resolve the issue on a priority basis.
Akhtar added that a candidate for the position would be decided soon and he would request him to keep an eye on the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to put a stop to water theft, leakages and ensure equitable distribution of water to citizens.
While talking to The News, Mayor Akhtar said land grabbers are responsible for water theft through the pipelines, resulting in the prevalent crisis. He added that the unbearable heat would continue into June, according to the meteorological department, so the water issue should be resolved on a war footing basis.
The mayor added he would urge the caretaker CM to give him time to give a detailed presentation over the prevailing issues of the city. He said he would also ask the officer to pay salaries to the staff as they have not been paid since the government announced a raise.
The caretaker government would also be asked to provide the complete share in Octroi Zila Tax (OZT) as the present Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has failed to do so, said Akhtar.
When asked about battered roads in the city, the mayor said he is overseeing the repair work of sewerage lines, which is not his job. He lamented that without these repairs the roads could not be built.
He said there are a lot of issues yet to be resolved as this government has limited time and mentioned that he would also request the caretaker CM to provide a package to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) so that things run smoothly. Once funds are made available we would change the shape of the city, he added.
Another issue that came up was of garbage collection and the lack thereof causing diseases to spread. With regard to the health sector, Akhtar mentioned that 13 hospitals under KMC, including Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, were in deplorable conditions because of a lack of funds.
The mayor said that with the help of the caretaker CM, he would request philanthropists to take ownership of their city and assist in its development. He urged that past mistakes be forgotten and called to look at the future for the sake of the city.
He said the outgoing CM Shah had promised to attend a KMC city council session but it never materialised. Akhtar added that he would also request the caretaker CM to take up Shah’s100 development schemes, which are still pending.
He concluded by saying that he would like to meet the caretaker prime minister and request for the Rs25 billion package promised by the former prime minister.