The provincial government has allowed execution of cleaning work on 41 major drains and 514 other drains of Karachi through the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). The information to this effect was provided by the Sindh local government secretary to the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday.
Filing comments on a petition seeking a judicial inquiry into the losses the people of the city suffered during the last year’s monsoon rains and compensation for the affected people, the local government secretary submitted that an amount of Rs250 million had been placed at the disposal of the KMC for cleaning the drains in the city.
He submitted that the local government department had apprised the provincial cabinet with regard to critical emergency actions required to mitigate risks and cleaning storm water drains of Karachi. He submitted that the KMC administrator had written a note mentioning that the cleaning work on the drains of Karachi may be started immediately to mitigate possible urban flooding in the city during the monsoon season.
The secretary submitted that the local government department would oversee the activities of drain cleaning for which a committee would be constituted and the same would be notified soon. The court had earlier directed the relief commissioner and the local government secretary to file their comments mentioning viable proposals to combat the situation faced by Karachi every monsoon season.
Nadeem A Sheikh had submitted in his petition that the disastrous spells of rain had left Karachi paralysed and flooded, which was costing Pakistan approximately Rs449 million every day. He said the city had turned into a disaster zone after rainfall in the last monsoon.
He said that of the 41 people killed during the rains, at least nine were electrocuted due to the messed up power supply lines during one of the heaviest downpours Karachi had witnessed in decades, making life miserable in the megacity of over 20 million people.
The petitioner said the natural storm water drains and the rivers had been encroached upon, which then disturbed settlements and led to flooding during the rains.
He said the lack of any bulk drainage mechanism along the major streets was an obvious cause of the problem, adding that it was ironic that the prime corridors like II Chundrigar Road, Sharea Faisal, Shaheed-e-Millat Road, Karsaz Road, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan Road, Shahrah-e-Pakistan as well as many other arteries had all turned into pools.
The petitioner said it was necessary for the SHC to order the relevant authorities and departments to initiate a strict inquiry into the matter and submit their reports in court, following which further orders may be issued.
He said the Sindh government was liable to compensate the people affected by the rains. He requested the high court to order the provincial and local governments to compensate the affected people.
Succession certificate law
The SHC on Thursday issued notices to federal and provincial law officers, law secretary and others on a petition against amendments in the Sindh Letters of Administration and Succession Certificate Act and delegation of succession certificates powers to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
Petitioner Arif Dawood, who is also a member of the Sindh Bar Council, had submitted in the petition that the government had introduced amendments in the succession certificate law by conferring powers to Nadra for issuance of the certificates.
He said there were legal defects in the law which should be reconsidered. He requested the high court to direct the government to return back the bill to the national and provincial assemblies for framing the rules and reconsideration so that legal defects could be addressed.
He also sought a direction to the federal and provincial law secretaries to put up the grievances of the bar council and associations regarding the bills passed by the National Assembly and provincial assembly regarding the Sindh Letters of Administration and Succession Certificate Act 2021.
He also sought a direction of the court to suspend the impugned amendments. The high court, after preliminary hearing of the petition, issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers, secretary law and others, and called their comments.
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