KARACHI (Staff Reporter): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the five spells of unprecedented heavy rains have claimed 80 lives, including 47 in the city and the sixth spell has also been anticipated.
This he said while addressing a press conference here at CM House. He was accompanied by provincial ministers Mukhesh Chawla, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah and Advisor Murtaza Wahab.
The CM said that on August 27 Karachi received 230 mm rainfall and if the average of the entire rain fall on Thursday was calculated it would be over 150 mm. “This is unprecedented [rain] and has broken all the previous records, ” he said and added that the intensity of the rain could be assessed from the fact that last night he had visited the city and his vehicles got stuck up and finally he had to disembark. “When stepped in the water on the road, I found it was over four feet deep and I could not visit nursery,” he said and added “finally, late night I visited four districts of the city and reviewed dewatering and disposing of rain water process,”
Mr Shah said that on August 27, 230 mm rainfall was recorded at PAF Faisal Base, 195 Surjani, 169 Kiamari, 167.8 North Karachi, 162 Nazimabad, 154 PAF Masroor, 142 Saddar, 126 landi, 212.9 old area around airport, 105 Saadi Town and 49 Gulshan-e-Hadeed. “These were unprecedented rains and the five spells, from July 6 to August 28 have claimed 80 valuable lives,” he said and said, they include 47 in Karachi (due to roof collapse, drowning and electrocution, 10 drowned and lightened in Hyderabad, five caved in in roof collapse in Shaheed Benazirabad, 11 died due to lightning and wall collapse in Mirpurkhas, one died in lightning in Sukkur and six electrocuted in Larkana.
SLGO-2002: Replying to a question about the power of the Mayor, Mr Shah said that some people were perplexed to get power they were given under the SLGO-2002. “In that SLGO-2002 they had revenue powers to allot land and had the authority to make direct recruitments, he said and added “under those powers, the champions of SLGO-2002 had commercialized all the residential areas in the city, allotted land along the embankments and in the bed of storm water drains.”
He said, they made direct and illegal recruitment in KMC, water board and DMCs to such an extent that these organizations have yet to recover from the financial pressure of their salaries bill. “This is what they want – I mean they want to wreak havoc with the organizations once again,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah said that chairman PPP was worried about the relief work in the city and he kept calling him on his cell phone after every hour to get him updated.
Removal of illegal structures: Murad Ali Shah said that all the encroachments from storm water drains, nallas and government lands would be removed irrespective of any discrimination. “We would not bulldoze only small structures but all the petrol pumps, plazas and commercial buildings,” he said and added the names of the encroachers or names of the buildings or establishments constructed illegally would be made public.
Those who were involved in China cutting and illegal allotment of lands would face the music. “Everyone is criticizing the Sindh government but nobody is exposing those who had allotted the lands, allowed illegal structures under their nose and made illegal recruitments,” he deplored.
Survey of losses: The CM said that the heavy rains have caused heavy losses to life and property all over Sindh. “Therefore, I have directed the chief secretary to start a survey of all the losses so that they could be compensated accordingly,” he said. He added that these losses, including the damage caused to buildings, life, katcha and pucca houses and standing crops would be documented. “Once the losses are assessed and estimated, the report would be sent to the prime minister who has assured me of his support. “I am sure he [the PM] will help us,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah said that he has got a report from local bodies about the houses which have submerged so that necessary planning to save them in future could be taken. He added that the Paposh area has suffered huge losses and “I am also conducting a survey of the losses caused to business activities so that they could be helped,” he said.
The CM said that it has been the history and record of the PPP government which always compensates the losses and the damages. “We would form a committee to help the people,” he vowed.
KMC Administrator: The chief minister, replying to a question, said that the appointment of administrator of KMC and other local bodies was the power of the provincial government and we would appoint, as far as consultation was concerned, it could be made with the federal government. “This is clear that the Sindh government would appoint an administrator in Karachi,” he said.
The gossip being made about the appointment of the administrator would come to an end within the next two days. “I have not heard the statement of the Sindh Governor about the appointment of the KMC administrator by the federal government,” he said and added that if he had given such a statement it was wrong.
Multiple authorities: Mr Shah said that the issue of Karachi was the existence of multiple authorities in the city which were exercising municipal and building control powers in their respective authorities. “It is unfortunate that we are blamed for the wrongs of those areas where we don’t have authority,” he deplored.
He said that let the other authorities work on their own but whatever the KMC and DMCs have the jurisdiction they have to perform there, he said.
Visit: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah visited Yar Mohammad village in Malir where people had constructed their homes in the bed of Malir River which have blocked smooth flow of rainwater. A village constructed in the name of Agha Goth is totally located within the river.
The people of the village started complaining with the chief minister about non-availability of civic facilities. At this the CM said that he had a major complaint against them [people] who have occupied the storm water drain, as a result the city was inundating.
The chief minister visited Shahrah-e-Faisal. At Nursery he stopped to see the condition of the commercial street where furniture showrooms are located. The shopkeepers present there told the chief minister that the nala flowing from Nursery towards Chanesar Halt has been blocked due to construction of some buildings across the Shahrah-e-Faisal.
The chief minister directed the MD water water board to conduct a survey of the nala and point out which buildings were blocking the flow of the nala and report to him. “I would bulldoze all those structures which have been causing urban floods by blocking the nallas,” he said.
Mr Shah also stopped at Shaheed Munawar Soharwardi Underpass at Drigh Road. The underpass was submerged. The road going from Shahrah-e-Faisal to Rashid Minha Road on the left side has collapsed. Under the road a pipe has been fixed to suction out rain water accumulated in the underpass. The chief minister ordered the starting of a suction pump to dewater the underpass and restore for the traffic. He also directed PD Karachi projects, Khalid Masroor to repair the road and restore for traffic.
The CM also visited University Road from Hassan Square to Nipa and the road was clear, except for the portion of Urdu University and Nipa chowrangi. The water board and DMCs were working there to clear the road, otherwise traffic was moving normally.
Yousif Goth: After Yar Mohammad village and Shahrah-e-Faisal visit, the CM said he went to Yousif Goth, District West where rain water has wreaked havoc. People have been shifted to camps and safe places. The government is providing food, water and medical facilities to the affected people. The chief minister talking to the affected people said that he was worried about them that was why within three days he had visited them twice. “I am going to resolve the issue of Yousif Goth for good so that no such issue of inundation may crop up in future,” he assured the people.
The chief minister witnessed that two excavators, two shovels were working to open blockage of the nallas. Dewatering pumps working pumping out water from the low-lying areas. Food, drinking water, water tankers were made available to provide water even to those who are at their homes. The Shelter Camp has been established in Govt Boys School. A Medical Relief Camp set up by the Health Department was also vaccinating the children and elderly people to keep them safe. Fumigation in the area has been made.
The district administration has also made the Boats available. The Pakistan Rangers and Pak Army jawans were also available for the support of the administration in evacuation of stranded people, provision of food and shelter. The revenue officials have been deployed in the village for round-the-clock relief work. The district administration also coordinated and supported welfare organisations for relief work at Yousif Goth.
PDMA: DG PDMA Salman Shah told the chief minister that he has provided dewatering machines to KMC, all DMCs and District council to dispose of water from their respective areas.