The Sindh High Court on Thursday took exception to the lack of a proper drainage system for rainwater and the failure of the authorities concerned to remove garbage from Defence Housing Authority...
The Sindh High Court on Thursday took exception to the lack of a proper drainage system for rainwater and the failure of the authorities concerned to remove garbage from Defence Housing Authority and Cantonment Board Clifton areas, observing that living in Defnece during the monsoon season had become a nightmare for the residents.
The court also directed experts of the NED University of Engineering and Technology to submit a report with regard to a comprehensive evaluation of the drainage infrastructure of DHA. The direction came during a hearing of an application filed by DHA and Clifton residents seeking the appointment of a qualified sanitation engineer to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the drainage infrastructure in the area.
The petition has sought effective infrastructure for the sewerage and drainage system in the area, and compensation for the damage to lives and properties suffered by residents of the city during the 2020 monsoon rains. A counsel for the petitioners also sought details of drainage infrastructure maps and requisite support and assistance for this purpose.
During the hearing of the petition, a division bench, headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, took exception to lack of cleanliness and a proper drainage system in DHA in the monsoon season. The court observed that residing in DHA during the monsoon season has become a nightmare for the residents of the area though they provide huge revenue to the authority.
The court inquired the DHA counsel whether any data had been compiled about the losses that residents had suffered during monsoon rains. The court observed that garbage was not being lifted during the rains and heap of garbage are seen in different parts of the city. The court observed that residents of the DHA was facing hardship due to non-lifting of garbage.
The DHA counsel submitted that the contract for the construction of drainage had been awarded in DHA phases IV and VI and sought time to file a compliance report. The court directed the NED experts to submit a report with regard to a comprehensive evaluation of the drainage infrastructure of DHA and asked the parties concerned to pay the experts’ fees.
The petitioners, including Azar Kalwar, had maintained in their plea that at least 41 people were killed across Karachi during rains on August 27 and 28, 2020. They added that people of the city, including residents of Defence and Clifton, had to suffer losses worth millions of rupees due to catastrophic flooding after the rains. Their counsel had informed the SHC during previous hearings that heavy rains had wreaked havoc on the city, and the authorities responsible for handling the situation had failed to perform their duties.
The residents said there was a complete failure on the part of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, cantonment boards, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, DHA and Karachi Development Authority, as they had been extracting millions of rupees in taxes under different heads but spending nothing on the drainage infrastructure of the city.
The high court was told that there should be a complete audit of the amounts being received by these civic bodies because nothing was being spent on the maintenance of the sewerage infrastructure.
The petitioners sought the formation of a committee to conduct a comprehensive evaluation in respect of the drainage infrastructure, and directions for the DHA and cantonment boards to take all necessary steps to construct efficient storm water drainage systems in their jurisdictions.
The DHA also filed a contingency plan based on the observations during 2020 August’s heavy rains to deal with any emergency that might arise due to downpours.