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July 29, 2020

CM Murad Ali Shah wants ‘solid mechanism to save low-lying areas in Karachi’

Karachi

July 29, 2020

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, keeping in view ongoing monsoon downpours, has decided to monitor Karachi through 28 subdivisional committees comprising elected representatives, including ministers, advisers and special assistants, for timely and properly disposal of the rainwater.

“I need a solid mechanism for saving low-lying areas where rainwater has flooded the houses,” he said while presiding over a meeting on Tuesday to review the monsoon situation and cleanliness of storm water drains.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Saeed Ghani and Syed Nasir Shah, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, special assistants to CM Waqar Mehdi, Rashid Rabbani, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Additional Chief Secretary Home Usman Chachar, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani, Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi, Managing Director Sindh Solid Waste Management Board Kashif Gulzar, Managing Director Water Board Khalid Shaikh, Masood Alam of the KMC and others.

The chief minister said the local bodies should have an emergency plan to deal with any heavy rain situation in the city. “The irrigation department maintains a mile-wise protection plan for the embankments of their canals under which they mark vulnerable and weak points and take prompt action in case of riverine floods,” he said and added that the local bodies should have a similar plan under which low-lying areas, choking points, bottlenecks, culverts of nalas and their catchment areas should have been identified on a map so that the deployment of staff concerned and necessary machinery could be ensured in case of a heavy downpour.

Shah said only cleaning of nullahs was not enough, and a detailed plan must be prepared through a proper and professional survey. “Our natural waterways have either been encroached upon or turned into housing societies; therefore, rainwater cannot flow towards the gravity,” he said.

He directed the local government minister to remove encroachments from along the storm water drains and continue their cleaning under World Bank projects and with local funding of the government.

Local Government Minister Nasir Shah told the chief minister that since July 26 when the rain had started he along with water board, local government and district municipal corporations’ senior officers had been on the roads. “The rainwater wherever accumulated was pumped out through machinery and choked points were cleared,” he said.

The chief minister said that in low-lying areas rainwater flooded houses. “I want a plan under which these houses could be protected,” he said and added that the small nullahs passing through such residential localities must be maintained properly.

Shah decided to look after Karachi on sub-divisional level where elected representatives would be assigned the duty to ensure proper drainage of accumulated rainwater. There are 28 subdivisions in the Karachi division and every subdivision is headed by an assistant commissioner.