Tuesday September 21, 2021

SHC issues notices on plea against encroachment

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has issued notices to the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC), Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and others on a petition seeking removal of all encroachments from the Gizri creek and the plain, and restore all natural outfalls into the sea so that storm water could flow out to the sea without any obstruction.

The petitioners, Ahmad Shabbar and others, residents of Defence, submitted in the petition that the DHA had encroached upon the Gizri creek estuary and the land around the Mehmoodabad drain which was the permanent cause of flooding in the area threatening life and property of its residents during the monsoon season.

They submitted that the residents of Defence and Clifton suffered huge hardship and financial losses during the last year’s monsoon due to the failure of the authorities to manage the drainage system of DHA. They informed the SHC that there was deliberate denial of civic infrastructure facilities and services to the petitioners by the CBA and DHA despite the fact that they were bound to ensure security of lives and property during the rain.

The petitioners submitted that the respondents were wasting precious resources and public money, having failed to design and implement an effective storm water drainage system in DHA.

They submitted that the only cost-effective and environmentally safe solution was to put in place an efficient storm water drainage system for which the residents had already paid development charges.

According to the petitioners, there were serious issues of governance, policy planning and representation of the public in the governing bodies of the CBC and DHA that required interference of the court. The high court was requested to direct the DHA and CBC to conduct a technical assessment of the 2020 flooding of DHA and address the problem of accumulation of rainwater in the area. The petitioners also sought removal of encroachments from the Gizri creek and Mehmoodabad drain.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui, after the preliminary hearing of the petition, observed that some overlapping and identical issues were also pending before the court. The high court issued notices to the DHA, CBC and deputy attorney general, and directed its office to fix the matter along with identical petitions on the next hearing.