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. He urged the Sindh government to help alleviate the problems of the residents of the metropolis.
KE WARNED OF FINE:
The apex court also expressed its indignation at the city’s power supply utility K-Electric for continued loadshedding despite a warning issued to it.
“Who are they to halt power supply to the city?” lashed out the CJP, saying that he had taken up the matter two days back and yet the metropolis faced a prolonged power outage on Wednesday.
“Sir, the power supply was not cut off,” responded the KE lawyer, to which the CJP said that the residents of the city are facing problems due to KE’s monopoly.
“People are dying, and they [KE officials] take bail from the high court for Rs50,000 [in surety bonds],” remarked the apex court judge, warning he would impose severe fines against the power supplier.
The chairman NEPRA interjected to say that even if there will be action against KE, it will take a stay order against that as well.
“None of their matters are on the right track, including fuel and electricity generation,” said the chairman.
Justice Ahsan remarked that nowhere in the world do issues that should be handled by regulators end up in front of courts.
The CJP then remarked that the powerful do not fear going to prison but “enjoy” their time during their stay.
“They enjoy being in prison but suffer only when it comes to paying from their pockets,” said the CJP, adding that the power supplier should face a fine.
The court stated that the further hearing of the case will be held in Islamabad and subsequently adjourned the hearing for two weeks.