Overhaul drainage to save megacity from urban flooding: Altaf Shakoor

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Karachi: Karachi has braved the worst urban flooding of its history during recent rains due to extremely poor drainage system and still dozens of neighborhoods are inundated in stagnant gutter water. To save the megacity from urban flooding in future it is necessary to completely overhaul its drainage system, said Altaf Shakoor, Chairman Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) here Monday.

Talking to a delegation at the Pasban Secretariat, he said the first and foremost step to save the megacity from such ordeals in future is to set up an independent “Karachi Drainage Authority”, with a mandate to study, design and implement a comprehensive drainage system for the megacity that should be sufficient to cater the needs of coming 100 years. He said top-notch experts, city planners and engineers should be included in the proposed authority with sufficient representation of all stakeholders including the government sector. He said the authority may be headed by the chief minister or Sindh governor or even co-headed for them. He urged the Sindh assembly members to draft and table a bill regarding the proposed Karachi Drainage Authority on urgent basis.

Altaf Shakoor said torrential rainwater from Kirthar Range must not be allowed to enter the megacity and for this purpose a ring of check-dams should be built around the megacity which on one hand can save the megacity from torrential rain-floods and on the other hand store sufficient rainwater to cater the domestic and industrial needs of the megacity. He said there is ample land available around Gadap and also in Kirthar National Park area to build such check dams easily. He said the provincial and federal government should join hands in this regard. He said the fine money recovered from the Bahria Foundation could also be utilized for this noble purpose with the permission of honorable apex court.

Altaf Shakoor said presently the main drainage issue of the megacity is that the natural water flows or Nullhas have already been occupied by land grabbers and illegal housing societies and colonies built on them. He said in this regard a study of areas near PESCH and Mehmoodabad could prove an eye-opener that how the lands of Nullahs are illegally used to make houses. He said all such encroachments should be razed immediately and the flow of natural Nullahs of the megacity should be revived. He said adequate compensation should be paid to genuine affectees while the land mafia people and the corrupt politicians and officers who facilitated them to sell this amenity land should be sent to jail.

Altaf Shakoor said the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has already become a white elephant, and a den of corrupt officers. He demanded that the administration of KWSB should be handed over to the Sindh Rangers for at least 10 years so as to make it a corruption-free citizen-service entity. He asked that the government should announce a drainage emergency in the megacity and all available resources should be mobilized to clean chocked gutters and dewater low-laying neighborhoods where vector diseases especially dengue, typhoid and malaria are spreading fast.

PDP Chairman appealed to the Prime Minister Imran Khan, Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Governor Sindh Imran Ismail to give a very serious consideration to the formation of the Karachi Drainage Authority and also handing over the administration of the KWSB to the Sindh Rangers for 10 years to improve the failing drainage system of the megacity and save it from urban flooding in future.