SC rejects Sindh govt petition for drain cleaning

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From Zeeshan Mirza

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a petition requesting it to reassign the responsibility for cleaning Karachi’s sewerage system to the Sindh government from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) it had tasked to a day earlier.
The court had tasked the authority with the cleaning of all storm-water drains in the metropolis and removal of encroachments from them in a period of three months, directing the provincial government to extend full cooperation to the NDMA and ensure resettlement of the affected people.
During the hearing, the Sindh government presented a report related to its performance in the recent monsoon season and the measures it took to mitigate the problems caused by heavy rains. “You [Sindh government] show us pictures after cleaning up two nullahs and claim that [all of] Karachi has been cleaned up now,” the top judge remarked on the performance report. CJP Ahmed inquired that if the drains were being cleaned up as was claimed then why did water inundate the city during the rains.
“If the Sindh government was cleaning the drains then why did the NDMA have to step in?” the judge asked the provincial authorities in the court. The advocate general responded saying it is not clear why the NDMA was sent to the city, claiming that 50 percent work was already done on the Gujjar nullah and 20-25% on the other major drains when the authority took charge.
The provincial government then sought time till August 30 for cleaning up the drainage system of the city. To this, Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan reminded the officials that the NDMA was already cleaning up the drains.