The Sindh High Court on Tuesday ordered that no boating at the Keenjhar Lake will be allowed before registration and completion of all safety measures.
Hearing a petition against a lack of safety arrangements at the lake due to which ten picnickers had drowned, the SHC division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, observed that the Sindh Tourism Development Corporation (STDC) had submitted progress report with regard to the standard operating procedures at the lake, showing substantial compliance of the order passed by the court.
STDC managing director Aijaz Sheikh submitted progress report in respect of the different tasks assigned to the STDC for the formulation of “SOPs/Mechanism for Keenjhar Lake, Thatta” under the chairmanship of the Hyderabad division’s commissioner.
In the progress report, the STDC said one jetty had been set up and three others would be built once the water level would go down in two months. The report said a ticket counter had been built with all essential equipment and accessories but it would get functional when the committee, after the registration of boats, would allow them to take visitors.
The STDC MD said all boats would be registered within a month whereas the fitness of boats would be approved by a committee which had been formulated to ensure safe boat riding and regulate boating activity.
As soon as the boats were registered, he added, the policy would be implemented and lifesaving jackets would be kept at the tickets centre and on the boats. The report said the boat’s route had been fixed within the two kilometres area of the lake from the resort while safety signboards had been installed for awareness. It said three watchtowers would be built as soon as the water level would go down.
The report said a rescue centre with all essential equipment and accessories had been established by the STDC and the staff was provided by the health department and that CCTV cameras had been installed.
It directed the STDC MD and others to ensure strict vigilance and compliance with the directions given by the court within two months. The court asked the district and sessions judge Thatta to visit the lake, conduct an inspection and submit his report by December 15 to verify the progress report submitted by the STDC MD.