Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah ordered on Saturday the release of Rs5 million to each deputy commissioner (DC) in Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas for dewatering flooded streets in their jurisdictions.
At a meeting to review the post-rainfall situation, the CM noted that while most main thoroughfares had been cleared of water after torrential rain hit the province, the dewatering of smaller streets and roads was hampered due to the shortage of staff.
The CM also asked why Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s Urban Disaster Response Unit appeared not to be active in the city’s clean-up after the rain.
He further directed relevant departments to bulldoze any buildings obstructing the outflow of water, whether it was public or private. “We have to fix the city no matter how drastic the measures we must take.”
Saying this, he directed the finance secretary to issue Rs5 million to each DC in Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas, for the disposal of rainwater and other related work.
Besides, the CM directed the planning and development department and the revenue board to conduct a survey to gauge the damage caused to infrastructure, homes and crops during rain, so that the rehabilitation could started before further rainfall and compensation issued for residential damage on a priority basis.
Moreover, he directed all city DCs to also conduct a survey of damaged roads, nullahs, streets and gutters and submit the reports to planning and development department chairperson.
Situation in Karachi
At the meeting, the CM was briefed about the progress of dewatering and the situation after the rainfall in different districts of Karachi.
In West district specifically, the CM was told, houses in Zodo Goth and Juma Goth remained submerged.
The Malir DC informed the CM that while most areas in his district had been cleared of water, some villages located over nullahs remained submerged in water. He assured the CM of submitting a detailed report on settlements built on nullahs and damaged roads and houses to the planning and development department within three days.
Besides, he was directed by the CM to chalk out a detailed plan for the rehabilitation of Marvi Goth and its adjoining villages, except those located on the embankment of Malir River. He was asked to submit the plan to Karachi commissioner.
Besides, the CM was informed that most parts of the city’s low-lying areas had been cleared of water barring streets, villages and settlements in the vicinity of Gujjar nullah, Malir River and Sukkur River.
In response to a question, Karachi commissioner Sohail Rajput told the meeting that most of the route of the Ashura procession had been cleared, except for a strip near the Merewether Tower. At this, the CM directed him to deploy special teams and clear the route immediately.
The Mirpurkhas commissioner told the CM that rain had damaged 80 per cent of the crops in Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Tharparkar, while katchi abadis in low-lying areas remained submerged in water.
He further warned of the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) overflowing, particularly in Jhudo and Naukot. “It [LBOD] has a design discharge of 4,900 cusecs and currently 9,000 cusecs [of water] is flowing through it, at its maximum capacity.”
The Shaheed Benazirabad commissioner informed the CM that 1,700 houses were damaged during the rainfall. Speaking about Khipro, he said he had sent a request for declaring the region’s 76 dehs calamity-hit.
Saying that the overall situation in Hyderabad was under control, the division’s commissioner said it had reported 14 rain-related deaths during the recent monsoon spell.
He told the CM that people residing on the bank of the Indus River had been asked to move to safer areas.
The commissioner brought to the CM’s notice that area residents had breached the Main Nara Valley drain at certain points to water their crops, but the breaches resulted in the emergence of a flood-like situation in some rural areas. However, the breaches had now been plugged, he added.
The meeting also discussed the prolonged power outages plaguing Karachi and the ensuing protests by citizens.
In this regard, the Karachi commissioner informed the meeting that 1,730 feeders of the 1,900 in the city had been repaired by K-Electric while 170 were yet to be mended.
When the CM pointed out that most areas in Defence Housing Authority remained deprived of electricity, he was told it was because several streets in the area were still inundated.