Karachi: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the federal government has demonstrated lukewarm attitude towards the rain affected people of the province and none of their ministers has bothered to visit the areas and support the people who are in pain and agony.
“Top of it the federal government against a share of Rs.126 billion of provincial government has so far provided only Rs.70 billion which shows a shortfall of Rs.56 billion, therefore we are facing another problem to spend money in the rain affected areas with open hand.”
This he said on Thursday while addressing a press conference here at the CM House.
The chief minister spoke on certain issues such as destruction caused by heavy rains, failure of 50-year old sewerage system of Karachi and encroachments on drains, dangerous buildings, reopening of schools.
About the construction over the drains in Karachi, Murad Shah said: “I have personally seen buildings have been constructed along the storm water drains and the builder was given leases and now those people were trying to be the owners of the city”.
He gave example of Rashid Minhas road where shops have been constructed on both the embankments of the drains. “In North Nazimabad and Hyderi there were 2000 square yards bungalows but now in place of bungalows high rises have been constructed but nobody was asking the people who had allowed the mess.”
CM said that the 50-year old sewerage system was not enough to carry heavy rain water, therefore restoration of natural drains, removal of encroachments along the drains and enhancing the capacity of existing sewerage system were inevitable. “We are at the planning stage to construct sewerage system of Kharadar, KDA Chowrangi, Surjani Town, particularly of Yousif Goth, and in the rural areas of Malir,” he said and added the sewerage system of Kharadar has almost completed its logical life and has serious capacity issues. Now it has to be reconstructed and the sewerage system which has been blocked with the construction of Green Line infrastructure in district Central would also be redesigned.
As far as the sewerage system of Surjani Town and Malir areas was concerned it would be done with new planning and afresh, he said.
Shah said that the heavy rains have also damaged road infrastructure, therefore patch work has been started in the city.
Talking about dangerous buildings collapsing one after another, the chief minister said that he has given the task to Minister Local Government Syed Nasir Shah to act against illegal buildings and vacate the old ones to the life and property of people.
Heavy rains in rural areas: The chief minister said that the 20 districts of the province were lashed by heavy rains, therefore they [20 districts] were declared calamity hit areas. He added that 136 people died, 86 injured, 15233 villages inundated, 2,488,616 people badly affected, 1,094,150 acres land of standing cash cropped washed away, 77343 katcha and pacca houses damaged completely and 137178 houses damaged partially and 45961 cattle perished.
“I am sorry to say the media like the federal government has adopted lukewarm attitude towards the agony of the people of rain affected areas living under the open skies,” he said and added “we ae not requesting you to show us on your channel but requesting you to at least show the plight of the people so that the donor agencies come over to help them.”
Shah said that over Rs.67 billion were required to rehabilitate the affected people so that they could return to normal life. “The reconstruction and repair of damaged infrastructure, including roads, school and hospital buildings would be separate task,” he said and added that the provincial government has meagre resources and it could not spare a huge amount of Rs.67 billion to rehabilitate the people, therefore we have given a commercial on print and electronic media to urge the philanthropists to support the affected people.
Murad Ali Shah said that he had apprised the prime minister during his visit to Karachi about the situation in the rain affected areas. “After our meeting, I have written him two letters and once he talked with me on the phone but nothing has given us for the support and relief of the affected people,” he lamented.
Shah said that the provincial government could not announce a package for the rain affected people but it was the federal government which has the capacity to give such a comprehensive economic package to rehabilitate the poor people of the inundated areas.
Talking about the destruction of standing crops, Murad Ali Shah said that cotton, chili, bajra and rice have been washed away. “I think we may not be able to meet the cotton and other crops production during this kharif season,” he said and added the federal government should review its targets and come over to support the growers by declaring an agricultural emergency.