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March 18, 2018

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Clean up Karachi in 7 days

KARACHI: The Supreme Court took notice over non-lifting of garbage in the city and gave deadline to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, District Municpal Corporations, civic agencies to remove all of it within one week.

Hearing a petition on Saturday about lack of clean drinking water and sewerage system in the province, Supreme Court’s three member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the water commission had painted a very gloomy picture about water supply and sewerage system schemes in its interim report.

The court inquired from the Chief Secretary as why heaps of garbage are present in different parts of the city and which authority is responsible for removing it. The court asked the Sindh government and the KMC to think above the politics for welfare of the citizens and all authorities have to fulfill their responsibilities.

The court observed that improvements should be seen in the water and sanitation systems as federal government has also released funds for the projects. Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon submitted that the government is implementing the directives of the court and the short term projects will be completed by June 30 this year. The chief secretary submitted that around 9,500 tons garbage is being lifted from the city by the district municipal corporations and private contractors and this capacity has been increased by 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes. To a court's query, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar said the provincial government has withdrawn powers from the KMC and transferred it to the DMCs. The mayor said drains are choked with garbage that is spreading diseases in the city. He said every day scores of dog bite cases are reported and the number of stray dogs has increased due to heaps of garbage. He said the KMC and the DMCs are not being provided adequate funds by the provincial government for purchasing machinery.

The Chief Justice observed the epidemics do not see whose children are being affected and urged the Karachi Mayor to remove the garbage by using his party workers in the interest of public welfare irrespective of political considerations. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah observed that political game is being played by both KMC and the provincial government resulting in people's suffering as everyone knows that lifting the garbage is the responsibility of the KMC and not private contractors. The court observed that drains are choked with garbage and no one is taking responsibility to clear the drains.

Residents of Bath island submitted pictures of garbage in the area and submitted that people are facing hardships and are exposed to diseases due to lack of removal of garbage. The Chief Justice, who also stayed at Judges’ residence at Bath Island, said he became a victim of mosquitoes due to which he could not sleep last night. The CJP asked citizens to come forward and take pictures of garbage alongside the newspaper of the day as proof so the court can pass appropriate orders. One of the citizens complained that the multistorey buildings have been allowed in the city. The court observed that only six floor buildings have been allowed by the court and action will be taken against those found violating the orders. The Chief Justice also directed the rights campaigner to stop advertisement campaign mentioning his name as he does not work for personal projection.

The counsel for Muttahida Quami Movement, Farogh Naseem said the solid waste management board is still working despite the Supreme Court orders for transferring the staff to the District Municipal Committees. The Chief Secretary submitted that garbage is being lifted by private contractors as the DMCs lacks machinery. The CJP observed that the court does not want to pass orders which destroy the system but wants to streamline the working of the municipal corporations. The court also directed that disposal of waste, fate of solid waste management board and outsourcing of DMC employees should be decided by the judicial commission, appointed by the court.

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