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April 15, 2019

KMC officer says debris, garbage serving as breeding space for stray dogs and rats

Karachi

April 15, 2019

Tons of garbage and debris strewn on the roads of Karachi for several months have become a serious issue of the city as they are providing food, shelter and breeding space to stray dogs, lizards, kites, snakes and rats.

This was stated by Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Senior Director Anti-Encroachments Bashir Siddiqi while he was talking to The News on Sunday at his office. He stated that the presence of debris and garbage all over the city was the reason behind the increasing number of stray dogs in the city leading to multiple dog bite cases every day.

The debris and garbage can only be lifted by the KMC when funds are released to it in compliance with orders of the Supreme Court, Siddiqi said, adding that the next phase of the anti-encroachment drive in the city would be started only when all the existing debris on roads was lifted.

The corporation had earlier planned to start the next anti-encroachment drive phase in the Old City in mid-April but later it postponed it on account of lack of funds.

Once the KMC has funds, it would sign a contract with some party to have the debris lifted and the mayor would decide the location where it would be dumped, the KMC officer said, adding that the bid to lift the debris would be invited through an open tender.

Siddiqi said the KMC had sent reminders to the Sindh government multiple times to release funds but to no avail. Earlier speaking to The News, Siddiqi had claimed that the apex court had ordered the Sindh government to pay Rs200 million to the KMC so that the corporation could lift the debris of the constructions razed during the anti-encroachment drive at various locations in the city; however, the provincial government had so far only provided Rs50 million to the KMC.

More than 11,000 illegal structures were demolished during the anti-encroachment drive that began in November last year in the Saddar area on the orders of the apex court. However, the KMC could not lift all the debris of the razed structures.

Siddiqi said the KMC still awaited the payment of Rs150 million from the Sindh government so that it could clear the debris scattered on various footpaths, streets and roads. He said people were demanding of the mayor to lift the debris but the mayor and the KMC had no funds to perform the task.

The KMC officer remarked that it would be a catastrophe if the KMC continued razing illegal structures without having the capacity to lift the rubble.

He added that the KMC would only resume major anti-encroachment operations when it had funds as given the economic condition of the country and the claims of the federal government about the economy, it would not be very wise to assume that the corporation would get funds somehow.

According to Siddiqi, the debris to be lifted included bricks, steel structures and sheets, iron rods, concrete blocks, cabins and extended sheds. He maintained that in the earlier anti-encroachment operations, some 3,000 shops were demolished that were legal tenants of the KMC and paid rent regularly to the corporation.

Their shopkeepers were promised by both Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar and Ghani that they would be provided shops but so far only 1,500 of them had been provided alternative shops, the KMC officer explained.

He said the mayor had identified a vacant plot opposite the Parking Plaza in Saddar where he intended to provide alternative shops to the displaced shopkeepers. However, the plot was occupied by roadside vendors.

When asked about stalls and carts that had been set up again by vendors at the Empress Market, Siddiqi said if courts ordered the KMC to remove them, the corporation would comply with the court orders.

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