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November 6, 2019

‘Karachi’s VVIP area’s sewerage system tattered beyond repair’


November 6, 2019

Workers are busy in repairing of sewerage line with the help of heavy machinery on Club Road as after damaging of sewerage line in provincial capital. -ONLINE

Karachi’s most VIP area surrounding the Governor House and Chief Minister House, and Hotel Metropole seemed to have more than 60 years old dilapidated sewerage infrastructure belonging to the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB).

The Sindh government seemed to have adopted a apathetic attitude towards the rickety state of infrastructure of the water board, even in the VIP area, as once again the 54-inch diameter sewerage line sank on Monday morning after a truck loaded with milk collapsed on Club Road in front of the Commissioner House. By 11:30pm on Monday, KWSB Executive Engineer Aftab Chandio said that they had started the excavation work.

A sewage line of 42-inch diameter had collapsed on the intersection of Sharea Faisal and Shahrah-e-Quaideen in late July when it rained heavily in the metropolis. In early August this year, another sewage line collapsed on Sharea Faisal near the Metropole Hotel, causing severe troubles to the commuters going to the Saddar area.

The sewerage lines in the entire area, according to Chandio, were laid by the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) in 1956. However, a longtime serving officer of the KDA, Syed Mukarram Bukhari, differed and shared that the sewer lines surrounding the Governor House, PIDC and Frere Hall were laid much before than KDA was even formed in 1957.

Former KWSB MD Hashim Raza Zaidi told The News on Tuesday that if not pre-Partition, these lines must have been laid immediately after the formation of Pakistan. “The sewage lines in the area are so huge that it is known as sewage trunk,” he said.

A senior official of the board believes that before the formation of the KDA there was the Karachi Joint Water Board formed in 1953, which would have laid the sewage infrastructure in the area. “The infrastructure has completed its design life a long time back,” the official said and added that for the replacement of these pipes they had already moved a summary to the Chief Minister House and were waiting for approval.

The entire sewage infrastructure, according to the official, will have to be replaced all the way from the PIDC to the Atrium Mall in Saddar. For this purpose, when Sharea Faisal and Club Road were being carpeted last year, the official explained that they wrote to the CM House for the replacement of sewage lines first, but “our proposal was turned down”. The sewage system of Saddar, surrounding the Empress Market, has already been replaced under a Saddar improvement project under the World Bank’s supervision.

As soon as the CM House approves the budget, which was around Rs80 million, the official said, the water board would carry out a major construction exercise in the area phase-wise. A meeting for this purpose has already been held at the Station Headquarters for Corps 5, as military lands and cantonment areas also fall in the area.

Traffic jams

The sewerage water that accumulated in front of the Governor House, around Hotel Metropole, in Saddar, on Sharea Faisal and the adjoining areas snarled up the traffic for hours. It took around 45 minutes for Arsalan Ali, who was going towards II Chundigar Road, to cross Metropole from the FTC.

“The traffic police were present in the area, but since Club Road is blocked and the surrounding areas are flooded with sewage, the traffic movement remains slow,” he said.

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has taken serious notice of the collapse of the 54-inch diameter sewerage line on Club Road and directed the KWSB to reconstruct all old lines in the vicinity and prepare a plan for replacing all old sewerage lines with new ones. He has also directed the water board to repair the damaged portion of the line within 24 hours. He has told the minister for local government to replace all old lines from Club Road, Ghazarfar Al Khan Road upto to the Clifton pumping station (Bument Road).

As for the cost of replacing the damaged line, Chandio shared that it would cost the water board around Rs7 million. The sewerage water is flowing from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Lucky Star, Zaibunisa Street, and rhe Governor House towards Club Road from where it goes to the PIDC, where the board has some 62-inch diametre sewage lines.

The replacement work, he assured, would be completed by Thursday. Water board MD Asad Ullah Khan and the board’s spokesperson, Rizwan Ahmed, were available for comment despite repeated attempts.