As the National Disaster Management Authority steps in to clean Karachi’s storm drains, the humiliating picture of the metropolis’s collapsing and depleted infrastructure is unsurfaced. There is no secret in the fact years of misrule, corruption and neglect has left Karachi in ruins and tatters and the condition in which the megacity now lies is synonymous to a state of man-made disaster. As the NDMA personnel in collaboration with FWO embarked towards cleaning Gujjar Nullah, one of leading storm drains in the city, the sight of tonnes of sludge blocking the free flow of water was despicable. Such blockage has attributed to horrendous urban flooding and standing water stagnation that invites mosquitoes, filth and obstruction in movement.
Even though the federal government has stepped in to clean the drains in Karachi in the face of forecasted heavy rainfall, such an urgency to provide relief to inhabitants of Karachi from another rain-related misery is worth applauding. As the country’s largest metropolitan city is in doldrums due to a barely functioning local government, welcoming this ad hoc move is a viable way forward. It is because players have used Karachi has a political playground to checkmate one another. As a result, the water, sewage and solid waste management departments have malfunctioned to such as extent that they largely remain inactive in using whatever powers remain with them. Moreover, coming with swashbuckling solutions once the rain-related misery has inflicted the people of Karachi and has paralyzed them with every possible impediments are not tenable approaches. Therefore at the end of the day, whether it is the federal decision or the Sindh government stepping in to unveil grandiose foreign-funded civic projects to mend the depleting physical infrastructure of Karachi, all these attempts will fail unless the local government is empowered and fulfils its constitutional duty to clean and maintain the city of Karachi.