Thursday September 29, 2022

‘60 per cent work of clearing storm water drains completed’

June 21, 2021

After the Pakistan Meteorological Department warned that heavier rainfall is expected this monsoon season, the Government of Sindh geared up to clear the major and minor storm water drains of Karachi. However, the persistent problem of encroachments has made the entire exercise quite cumbersome.

Out of the 44 major drains under the administrative control of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), the Orangi, Gujjar and Mehmoodabad nullahs are being cleared by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which has contracted the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).

The remaining 41 drains and the small nalas under the seven district municipal corporations (DMCs) of the city are being cleared by the committee formed by the provincial government for the purpose.

Sindh Solid Waste Management Board Managing Director Zubair Channa, who also heads the $240 million Competitive and Livable City of Karachi Project, KMC officials, the local government secretary and other officials are the committee’s members.

The provincial cabinet has approved Rs500 million for clearing storm water drains, and 50 per cent of the funds have already been released. The third-party evaluation of the clearing work is being conducted by the National Engineering Services Pakistan.

Talking to The News, Channa explained that the clearing of storm water drains started on May 26. He said that in a span of 22 days, 3.5 million tonnes of filth was taken out of different nullahs of the city.

“Almost 60 per cent of the clearing work has been done,” he said, adding that the Gujjar, Orangi and Mehmoodabad nalas are being cleared by the FWO and the NDMA.

According to him, six to seven drains are inaccessible to them due to encroachments. As for the drains falling under the administrative control of the DMCs, he said those are also being cleared by the committee.

“Those drains of the DMCs that are connected to the major storm water drains are being cleared under the supervision of the committee,” he explained.

He said that the first phase of the drain clearing will be completed by the first week of July. However, he added, their engagement in the clearing process of nullahs will continue until the end of the monsoon season.

An official of the KMC’s municipal department said that the choking points of various nalas have already been cleared. “The choking points of the DMC nullahs have also been cleared,” he said, adding that encroachments, however, are a major hurdle in the process of clearing the drains.

He said that various areas of the Chakiwara, Dehli House, Tipu Sultan, City, Soldier Bazaar, Curli, Machhar Colony, Limo Goth and Pehlwan Goth nullahs, and other big and small nalas get choked during rains. “These points have been cleared, and drainage machines have already been installed at all such points.”

Identifying District Central’s Nagan Chowrangi and KDA Chowrangi as the worst choking points of the city, where the water gushes from the mountains and floods these localities, the official said they need a huge box culvert at Nagan Chowrangi, and encroachments removed from the drains flowing between KDA Chowrangi and the Ziauddin Hospital.

According to him, the federal government-owned SIDCL (Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited) has agreed to construct the box culvert, but it will be constructed after the monsoon because no such major construction work can take place during the season.

As for the KDA Chowrangi, the official said the hospital is partially constructed over the drain, in which the water flows all the way from the mountains.

He said that due to the construction of the hospital and other encroachments, the water overflows at KDA Chowrangi and the adjoining areas, inundating the entire locality, including the houses.

The KMC has decided to purchase 15 more pumps and deliver them to the places where rainwater accumulates in a large quantity. KMC Administrator Laeeq Ahmed has directed his subordinates to conduct a thorough survey of the underpasses and low-lying areas, and prepare a plan for storm water discharge.

The NDMA’s media handler, Shazia Haris, refused to share the contact information of any of their officials engaged in the monitoring of the drain clearing work in Karachi.

One of their officials shared the information that until May some 14,900 tonnes of garbage had been taken out of the Mehmoodabad Nullah, 73,500 tonnes from the Gujjar Nullah and 153,031 tonnes from the Orangi Nullah.

The Korangi deputy commissioner has directed his subordinates to clear the sewerage lines in Chakra Goth before the monsoon rains start. The DC has also ordered clearing all the drains in his district.

District East Municipal Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed visited various areas of his district on Sunday to monitor the clearing work of the storm water drains. Visiting Limo Goth, he directed the officials to clear the debris present inside the nullah passing through the locality.