The Sindh government’s development endeavours came to a standstill as various uplift projects could not be carried out due to a shortfall in the revenue collection by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in the last three years, said Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, while talking to media in Gharo and Thatta, on Wednesday morning.
The CM said he had visited Malir where various villages, such as Mohammadi Town, Yar Mohammad village, Khoie, Darsano Chhano and Hassan Panhwar, had been inundated due to illegal settlements that disturbed “the flow of rainwater in the Malir and Sukkhan rivers”.
Shah said 108 stranded citizens had been evacuated with the help of armed forces. He said 22 of them were from Khoi, 30 from Darsano Chhano and 56 from Hassan Panhwar. “Still people in Mohammadi Town and Yar Mohammad Panhwar village are stranded,” he said, adding that he had directed the Karachi commissioner to rescue them with the help of the navy and the army and provide them with food and water.
The CM said the illegal settlements on the Malir and Sukkur rivers were so dense that hardly a 10 per cent width of the rivers was left for water to flow. “We are going to destroy the encroachments; otherwise urban floods will be inevitable.”
To a query, Shah said rainwater in Gharo had accumulated along the road of the area and inundated its portions. “I have observed that the road needs some culverts to give passage to the water. The construction work for them [culverts] will start soon.”
The CM said rainwater had been disposed of from Thatta city through natural gravity and suction machines but a permanent solution lied in the construction of a new storm water drain that “has been included in our development plan but due to the constraints of resources the work could not be undertaken”.
According to him, the revenue collections by the FBR “are dismal as they failed to improve their collection in 2018 and 2019 and their collection remained standstill for the last two years”.
Now, he added, the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a dent to the national as well as the provincial economy and “therefore development works have been affected”. “However, we will arrange funds for the construction of storm water drain for Thatta,” he said. The CM said this year’s rain had caused the least damages in terms of human lives and public property as compared to the last year.
The chief minister visited Sujawal where his adviser Aijaz Shah Shirazi briefed him on the situation in the area. The CM directed Public Health Engineering Secretary Laiq Ahmed to shift additional suction machines from Thatta and Badin to Sujawal for quick disposal of rainwater.
During his visit to Badin, the CM stopped at the Guni-Phuleli drain that had developed a wide breach last year. Chief Engineer Zarif Khero told the chief minister that Guni carried the water of three talukas, namely Matli, Golarchi and Tando Mohammad Khan, and discharged further into Nareri. The Guni-Phuleli had a design discharge of 1,500 cusecs but presently 1,800 cusecs were flowing through it safely, he added.
The people of Badin requested the chief minister to construct a separate storm water drain in the city for the disposal of rainwater and domestic wastewater. The CM assured them that a feasibility study of the drain would be conducted shortly.
During his visit to Tharparkar district, the CM visited Deplo where 509mm rainfall was recorded. Islamkot received 330 mm, Mithi 459mm, Kaloi 215mm, Chachro 267mm, Dahli 240mm and Nagararkar 387mm.