The recent monsoon rains have caused damage worth Rs12 billion to Rs14 billion to the city’s roads and other civic infrastructure.
The estimate of rain-related damage to the city was given by Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab, who also serves as the spokesperson to the Sindh government and adviser to the chief minister on law, as he spoke to the media on Friday after unveiling the plaque for the reconstruction of Mumtaz Hasan Road and Hasrat Mohani Road in the Old City area.
The Sindh government and KMC, he said, had started reconstruction and repair of roads in all the districts of Karachi. He expressed the hope that all the roads needing repair would be renovated in the next three months.
The people of Karachi, he declared, would soon see all the roads of the city completely repaired and their opponents would only be left with opposing the rehabilitation work of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for the city.
Speaking on the collection of municipal tax through K-Electric (KE), he said the Sindh Local Government Act's Section 100 clearly stated that the tax could be collected through a third party.
Wahab maintained that his party had entrusted the task of developing Karachi to him and he was trying to do whatever he could for the city while his opponents were busy conspiring against him.
KMC Metropolitan Commissioner Syed Afzal Zaidi, Director General Works Azhar Ali Shah, PPP Deputy Secretary Information of Karachi Division Shakeel Chaudhry, PPP District South President Khalil Hot, General Secretary Karamullah Waqasi and others were also present on the occasion.
The KMC administrator said that Hasrat Mohani Road and Mumtaz Hassan Road connected major thoroughfares such as MT Khan Road, II Chundrigar Road and Shahrah-e-Liaquat in the business hub of Karachi.
He added that hundreds of thousands of people used these roads and due to their dilapidated state, they were facing hardship. Wahab maintained that 1,150 millimetres of rain fell in Karachi during the monsoon season, but the citizens did not face problems like they used to in the past as the roads remained usable.
He said that in the past, a mayor of Karachi used to say that he did not have funds to carry out development work, but now the same KMC showed how work could be done.
He said how he had promised to start repair of roads after the monsoon rains and the repair work just kicked off after September 15. “Issues at underpasses have already been fixed," he added.
He explained that Mai Kolachi Road had been illuminated with street lights and work was in progress on 31 roads in the SITE area, while renovation of Shahrah-e-Noor Jahan had also begun.
The KMC administrator said development projects were also under way in the areas of Jackson, ICI Bridge, Dockyard Road, Fish Chowk and Shahrah-e-Liaquat. He maintained that KMC’s tax money would be embezzled in the past but now the PPP had developed a transparent system through legislation.
The municipal utility tax was included in KE bills because that would generate Rs3 billion for the KMC annually, Wahab said, adding that the amount would be spent on improvement and development of Karachi.
He vowed that the collection of money through the power bills and its spending would be transparent and now everyone could see how much amount was collected. "I am happy to say that in the last 10 days, 714,000 people have paid over Rs520 million," he added.
He asked those who objected to the collection of municipal taxes through the power bills why they did not object to the collection of television fee and federal taxes through the power bills. "As the KMC wants to develop the city and restore its glory, it is not being tolerated by some people," he remarked.
He said that during the mayorship of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Niamatullah Khan, the city was seriously damaged by the commercialisation of roads. He said that he did not doubt the intention of the late mayor but the actions which were wrong could not be called right. He added that he respected the courts and hoped that the judiciary would decide the issue of the collection of municipal tax as per the law.
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