CM Sindh orders cleaning of drains, strengthening of river embankments before monsoon

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Tuesday ordered the irrigation department, Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) and the divisional and district administrations to complete cleaning of natural drains and storm drains and strengthen the River Indus embankments before the start of monsoon.

He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting on monsoon and flood emergency, which was held at CM House. Top bureaucrats, senior officials of the Sindh government and representatives of the Pakistan Army were present, while divisional commissioners attended the meeting through video conferencing.

The director-general of the provincial disaster management authority (PDMA), Syed Salman Shah, informed the meeting that ‘rainfall above normal’ was likely between June and September over much of South Asia. He was seconded by chief meteorologist Rasheed who said there would be “an active monsoon in the country, including the Sindh province, which could create a flood-like situation”.

Mr Shah said that prevailing oceanic, atmospheric and surface climatic conditions suggested that uncertainties in Pakistan’s weather pattern would persist in early summer. The first half of June was likely to remain dry and hot, which would increase the probability of heatwave occurrence, he said. “The PMD has not yet issued the monsoon outlook of 2016, however, the SASCOF [South Asian Climate Outlook Forum] prediction of 2016 and constant climatic changes require optimal preparedness to handle any untoward situation,” the DG added.Highlighting the need for cleaning of storm drains in Karachi, Lt Col Babar, acting commander 21-Engineering, and Maj Tanveer, GSO-2 of HQ Engineering, gave a short-term plan for the cleaning of nullahs.


Rs160m being released to de-silt four nullahs in Karachi under army supervision


According to the officers, most of the nullahs discharged sewage and waste into four major nullahs namely Orangi, Gujjar, Chokar and Kalri nullahs which were filled with filth and garbage. They said the four nullahs should be de-silted at the earliest to ease the flow of other drains. The officers, however, said the major storm drains had been encroached upon badly.

Senior member of the Board of Revenue Rizwan Memon said the four nullahs could be de-silted as a pilot project, while the cleaning of other nullahs could be proposed for the annual development programme. The KMC administrator and the city commissioner backed the proposal and said they would monitor the cleaning work.

Subsequently, the chief minister directed the finance department to immediately release Rs160 million to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation for the cleaning of the four nullahs which would be carried out under the supervision of a committee. He said the corps headquarters representatives would be part of the committee to supervise the work. In this regard, he said: “I would personally talk to Corps Commander Lt General Naveed Mukhtar to nominate a member of the army engineering corps for the supervising committee.”

The chief minister said the de-silting of the nullahs be completed within the next eight weeks.

Hyderabad

While briefing the chief minister from Hyderabad through a video link, Hyderabad Commissioner Qazi Shahid Parvez said that nullahs had already been cleaned in Hyderabad, while work on natural drains in Tando Mohammad Khan and Badin was under way.

The chief minister said he had received reports that areas along the nullahs and embankments of canals in Hyderabad division were being occupied illegally. “This must be taken as my warning that I will not tolerate any sort of encroachment on nullahs and canals. Just rush and remove them and report me,” he said.

About the condition of embankments of River Indus, the commissioner said there were nine vulnerable points in Matiari.In Sujawal, Monarki Bund was also in a precarious condition. A bund at Keti Bander needed to be strengthened.

The additional secretary (technical) of the Sindh irrigation department said that the Flood Commission of Pakistan had not released funds for the repair of the vulnerable points of Matiari. Finally, the Sindh government had released funds to ensure timely start of work, he said.

Repair of Monarki distributories was in the pipeline but the Keti-Bandar embankment belong to the Coastal Development Authority, he added.

Mirpurkhas

Mirpurkhas Commissioner Shafiq Mahesar told the meeting that there was an urgent need to de-silt the Left-Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) and Puran, the two key drains in the Mirpurkhas division which if left unattended could cause flooding of roads and towns in case of heavy rains.

In reply to a question, he said encroachment had been removed from Puran and nullah passing through Naukot and Jhudo. He added that the equipment and machinery provided to them by the PDMA in 2010 had been returned to the PDMA. But some sub-divisional officers had yet to return the equipment, he added. The chief minister directed him to issue show cause notices to the sub-divisional officers.

Larkana

Also connected via a video link, Larkana Commissioner Akbar Leghari informed the meeting that Morya and Hakra embankments were facing soil erosion, while work had not been done so far.

The chief minister said he had released the funds and in case of any untoward incident he would hold the irrigation department responsible. An irrigation official said the Sindh government had recently released Rs200 million to them. Of that fund, Rs20 million had been released for the repair and strengthening of Morya and Hakra embankments, he said.

Sukkur

While briefing the meeting through a video link, the Sukkur additional commissioner said the condition of Qadirpur Loop, Qadirpur Shank and Macha embankment was not good. In this regard, SIDA director claimed that he was personally monitoring the repair work on the embankments in his area. Over 50 per cent work on Qadirpur Shank had been completed, he added.

Shaheed Benazirabad

The Shaheed Benazirabad commissioner said that Lakhat S.M. Bund was vulnerable in case of monsoon rains. He said repair work was under way, but Amri-Qazi bridge had some design fault where water hit the road. He added that the works department was still working there, while the irrigation secretary, too, had visited the area.Chief secretary Siddique Memon, principal secretary Alamuddin Bullo, senior member of the Board of Revenue Rizwan Memon, local government secretary Baqaullah Unar, Karachi commissioner Aijaz Khan, Karachi administrator Laiq Ahmed and chief meteorologist Abdul Rasheed besides the army representatives attended the meeting

 

 

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