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KARACHI: The Sindh government, Corps Headquarters Corps-5, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) have jointly decided to assign the work of removal of sludge of three nullahs in Karachi to FWO. Simultaneously, the provincial government with their support would remove encroachments from all the storm water drains in the city.

This decision was taken in a high-level meeting here on Friday chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, said a statement. The meeting was attended by Minister Local Government Syed Nsir Shah, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab, Corps Commander Karachi Lt. General Humayun Aziz, Chairman NDMA Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shahlwani, Secretary LG Roshan Shaikh, Brigadier Hussain Masud of Corps-5, Brig Waseem of NDMA, DG SSWMB Kashif Shaikh, PD CLICK Zubair Channa, Masood Ala of KMC and other concerned officer.

The meeting decided to hand over cleaning of three nullas to FWO. They include Gujjar Nallah District Central. It would be cleaned to its entire length and leftover work along with cleaning of all feeding nallahs and addressing Green Line drain issues.

The FWO would clean Shahrah-e-Faisal storm water drains, both sides, along with adjacent choking points such as FTC, Nursery, Gulshan-e-Zafar, Tipu Sultan Road, Karsaz, Drigh Road, Stargate). Sludge will be taken out and dumped directly at dumping sites of Jam Chakro & TP-1.

The local government department with the support of Pakistan Army and Rangers would remove encroachments from the embankments of the nullas so that rainwater could be disposed of in natural gravity. The meeting was told that the KMC has 38 nullahs and they all were being cleaned under the World Bank project, SWEEP.

Apart from KMC, the DMCs have 514 smaller drains and the DMC were responsible for the cleaning for which the Sindh government has been providing them additional funds. There are some nullahs of the Cantonments and KWSB in the city.

In the recent monsoon what went wrong was three spells in which cloud busted for 63 to 86 millimetres less than in an hour, the chief minister said, adding the existing infrastructure of the city has the capacity to sustain 25 to 30 mm within 30 minutes rain.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said the areas where rainwater accumulated or flooded the localities were Gujjar Nullah at Liaquatabad, Sher Shah Suri Road where pillars of Green Line infrastructure have been constructed within nullah, Kashmir Colony at the tail-end of Orangi Nullah, Gulistan-i-Jauhar where encroachment has emerged and de-silting could not be made properly, Gulshan-i-Zafar adjacent to PECHS where encroachment issues are the main causes.

Zaman Town in Korangi which has also encroachment issues and Soldier Bazaar nullah at Police Lines which was deliberately made choked by putting heavy stones into the drain.

It rained more than 63mm on July 17 within an hour at PAF Faisal Base Station. PECHS and Shahrah-e-Faisal choked for a few hours at Roomi Mosque due to encroachment at Gulshan-i-Zafar. Zaman Town flooded by two feet due to encroachments there. It was pointed out that most of the previous year problematic areas remained normal because their issues were addressed.

It rained more than 86mm within an hour on July 26, as a result rainwater inundations took place in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, where a private educational institution has encroached upon the nullahs therefore its de-silting could not be made.

Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah said that Green Line structures disconnected old drainage systems in Gujjar Nullah which caused flooding in the area, adding the Soldier Bazaar Nullah choked due to deliberate dumping of large stones and other material.

The downpour was unprecedented on July 27 when more than 74mm was rained within an hour. The flash water from hill torrents inundated Orangi and Gujjar Nullah. Green Line structures again blocked drainage flowing into Gujjar Nullah with accumulation of water at KDA, Sakhi Hassan and Nagan Chowrangi. Heavy rains in Orangi Nullah inundated Kashmir Muhalla (tail end-low lying Kachi Abadi).

Talking about World Bank intervention for improvement of Solid Waste Collection/disposal system in the city, Syed Murad Ali Shah said that under the World Bank SWEEP scheme of CLICK project the exercise of nullahs cleaning had been undertaken.

He said the Sindh government invested an amount equal to $8 million from its own sources which would be retro-effectively reimbursed by the WB. The Sindh government had released Rs 200 million as a stop gap arrangement for cleaning the nullahs, the chief minister pointed out.

Gujjar Nullah district Central, Mahmoodabad Nullah district East, Songal Nullah, District Malir/East, Soldier Bazaar, City Nullah, Pitcher Nullah, Kalri Nullah district South have been cleaned.

Around 3,966,193 tons of sludge have been disposed of from seven districts right from July 29, 2020. They include 822,995 tons from central, 973,009 West, 368,309 South-1, 664,631 South-2, 804,279 East, 187,937 Malir and 145,033 Korangi. The Corps Commander Karachi and Chairman NDMA assured the chief minister that they would be supporting the Sindh government in rectifying design defects of the nullas and the Green Line project.

The also assured the Sindh government that it would be supported in removal of encroachments along the nullas. The chief minister expressed gratitude to the Corps Commander Karachi and NDMA for their support.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020