The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed aid commissioners and local government secretaries to submit their comments mentioning viable proposals to combat the situation Karachi faces each rainy season.
The order comes over a petition calling for a judicial investigation into the losses suffered by townspeople during the recent monsoon rains. The applicant also asked for compensation for the people affected.
The bench in the SHC division headed by Judge Mohammad Ali Mazhar asked the aid commissioner about the progress of the post-monsoon construction work in relation to sewer systems, rainwater drains and dilapidated roads.
The court observed that the city’s sewerage system had been destroyed and several roads and roads were inundated with wastewater. The judge asked the legal officer what efforts were being made to ensure that such a situation would not arise again.
The additional aid commissioner said that several construction projects related to water & sewerage and road carpets would begin and would be completed in three to five years. He said that a road map was being drawn up to deal with such situations in the future.
The SHC directed the auxiliary commissioner to show the court some working papers on a road map for controlling such situations. The bench also directed the LG secretary to appear in court with some viable proposals for dealing with such situations in the future.
The court repeated its notification to underserved respondents, including landowning agents from the provincial and federal governments, and told them to file their comments on October 28.
Nadeem A Sheikh has stated in his petition that the catastrophic rains that occur paralyze Karachi and floods, costing Pakistan around Rs449 million every day. He said the city turned into a disaster zone after two days of rain.
Sheikh said that of the 41 people who died during the rains, at least nine were electrocuted due to chaotic power lines during one of the heaviest rains Karachi has seen in decades, making life miserable in the large city of more than 20 million people.
He said the Sindh government had declared a monsoon flood emergency in the province and declared several areas hit by the disaster. The monsoon rains do not mean devastation, but the city’s unplanned growth has left it in ruins, and large-scale encroachment is the main reason for the rain flood, he added.
The Petitioner said natural storm drains and rivers had been encroached on, which then disturbed settlements and caused flooding during the rains. He regretted that during heavy rain, various emergency telephone numbers such as fire emergency 16, the commissioner’s helpline 1299 and the civil defense telephone number could not be reached.
He denounced that no other number was available in the event of an emergency, while K-Electric’s complaint number redirected to a record that continued to say that KE’s skilled staff were trying to rehabilitate the area as soon as possible.
Sheikh said the road to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Jinnah Graduate Medical Center and the Kidney Center was more than four feet submerged in water, and under such conditions it was impossible to get the patient to any hospital.
He said the lack of a bulk drainage mechanism along the main road was the clear cause of the problem, adding that it is ironic that major corridors such as II Chundrigar Road, Sharea Faisal, Shaheed-e-Millat Road, Karsaz Road, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan Road and Shahrah-e -Pakistan as well as many other arteries have all turned into pools.
The applicant said that the SHC needs to order the relevant authorities and departments, including all respondents, to initiate a rigorous investigation into the matter and submit their reports in court, after which further orders can be issued in relation to the question.
He said the Sindh government was responsible for compensating people affected by the recent rains according to their individual losses. He asked the court to order provincial and local governments to compensate the affected people.