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August 27, 2019

Under-fire Karachi mayor notifies Kamal as garbage ‘collector’

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August 27, 2019

Mustafa Kamal accepts challenge to clean Karachi

KARACHI: The politics being played on removing heaps of garbage in Karachi took a bizarre turn amid the ongoing blame game on Monday when Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar designated Pak Sarzameen Party’s (PSP) chief Syed Mustafa Kamal as the project director garbage. Akhtar notified the former mayor after Kamal claimed to clean the city in three months.

According to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation's notification, Kamal has shown his willingness to clean the city of Karachi within 90 days of time and the mayor of Karachi has designated him as project director garbage. Before the notification, the mayor chaired a meeting at the KMC head-office to review the arrangements for Muharram. During the meeting, he complained the issue of garbage removal from Karachi was being politicised. “My team works sincerely and with hard work, but even then people come out in agitation,” he said and added some political parties are backing a wall-chalking campaign against him. The mayor pledged that Kamal will have all the powers of municipal services for three months, as the project director garbage. “Whatever resources KMC has, I will give it to him,” he said.

Akhtar demanded putting all municipal services under one umbrella which has been divided into several districts to draw political advantage. The mayor complained that all the districts do not fall under his jurisdiction. Akhtar said even the District Municipal Corporations do not report to him. This is the only city in the world which has three development bodies – Malir Development Authority, Karachi Development Authority and Lyari Development Authority. Apart from this, there are six cantonments and a Defence Housing Authority. There are also federal government departments like Civil Aviation Authority, Karachi Port Trust and Pakistan Railways who work autonomously, independent of the mayor.

When asked to quit if circumstances do not allow him to work, he said that is the easiest thing to do. He said he would continue to struggle for the resolution of issues as he is a fighter and won’t resign. “I will resign immediately, if there’s a guarantee that all the issues of the city will be resolved in one year,” he said. Akhtar said the mayor’s term ends in a year, but “we need to improve the system toward a better and organised structure with focused service delivery.” He said even today sewage has flooded houses in several parts of Korangi and Landhi.

The mayor hoped the Supreme Court implements Article 140-A of the Constitution regarding local government which alone will empower the third tier of the government. He requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan not to allow the next local government election under the same power distribution as it will be waste of money. He said it is a pity that he cannot collect taxes, as when he approaches the people for paying tax, they first ask him to first clean sewage and garbage from their area. He said under the new system, garbage removal and sewerage system do not fall under KMC’s jurisdiction anymore.

Accepting Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar’s challenge, Pak Sarzameen Party’s Chairman Mustafa Kamal said the mayor has admitted to his failure by issuing him a notification of his employment as the “project director garbage”.

Addressing a press conference, Kamal announced imposing a municipal emergency for three months. He demanded a briefing from the mayor, district chairman and other municipal officials about equipment, machinery, staff and their expenditure.

He said there is an empty plot next to mayor Akhtar’s residence where he will dump the garbage of District Korangi and then transfer it to the designated land-fill sites. Kamal also asked the authorities to restore the helpline 1339 where the city residents can register complaints. Kamal said it will be injustice with the Karachiites if the mayor's notification is withdrawn.

Earlier in the day at a separate press conference, Kamal, while offering his services, claimed he could remove the city's garbage within three months if all the resources are provided to him. Kamal said the existing resources are enough to get the sanitary problems of Karachi resolved within three months. Kamal said only leadership with a strong character could meet this challenge.

The former mayor asked to establish five garbage transfer stations to reduce the distance to the landfill sites from three hours to 15 minutes. He also advised installing re-cycling plants and machines at the garbage transfer stations. Saying that the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board has failed to perform fully, Kamal demanded its dissolution and devolution of its powers to the union councils.

Taking a jibe at the incumbent mayor Karachi, he said Waseem Akhtar launched insecticide spray drive in the city from a machine donated by someone two days ago. “He should be ashamed. He has his own budget. The Sindh government says it has paid Rs 41 billion to the Karachi Municipal Corporation. Where does the money go?” he questioned. He once again demanded the government to place the name of the city’s incumbent mayor on the Exit Control list before he flees from Karachi.

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