MIRPURKHAS/HYDERABAD         -     Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the Sindh government is very much prepared to deal with the next spell of monsoon rains expected to begin this Friday.

He said all the district administrations had been directed to ensure draining out the rainwater from all the low-lying areas without any delay.

He was presiding over a high-level meeting here at Commissioner’s Complex on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by Provincial Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Hari Ram Kishori Lal, MNA, Shamim Aara Panhwer, MPAs Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Sharjeel Inam Memon, Mir Tarique Talpure, Noor Ahmed Bhurgari, Mirpurkhas Commissioner Abdul Waheed Shaikh, Deputy Commissioner Zahid Hussain Memon, District Council Chairman Mir Anwer Ali Talpure, DIG Mirpurkhas Zulfiqar Larak, and other concerned officers. The only exception, however, was Municipal Committee Chairman Kamran Shaikh, who was not invited to attend the meeting by the district administration.

Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the purpose of his visit was to inspect the measures taken by the district administration in view of the monsoon rains.

Directing the concerned officials to ensure draining out the rainwater, he said police would also assist in relief operations in case of an emergency, arising out of urban flooding.

Giving him briefing, Commissioner Mirpurkhas Abdul Waheed Shaikh said that Mirpurkhas division consisted of three districts, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Tharparkar. He told the CM that the existing drainage system was no more useful due to the growing population of the city.

He further said that the entire division had 89 pumps while nullahs had already been cleaned. “Apart from that, fire tenders, 230 trolleys, 16 tractor trolleys are also available,” Shaikh informed.

The chief minister also listened to the suggestions given by the elected representatives on the occasion, and told the concerned officials clearly that he will not tolerate any negligence in this regard.

The CM, on the occasion, ordered cancellation of leaves of all the assistant commissioners, other government employees and directed office-bearers of the local bodies to remain present on the roads during the rainfall. He said that 286 relief camps would be set up in the province.

Later, the chief minister visited the site of a nullah project at Dhora Puran, and directed the officers to make necessary arrangements.

Meanwhile, MQM-P’s district leadership has strongly criticised the district administration and the Sindh government for not inviting MCM Chairman Kamran Shaikh to the meeting.

In a statement, it said Shaikh could better inform the Sindh chief about problems of residents of the city, but sadly he was deliberately overlooked.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that out of 38 storm water drains of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) only three have been given to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for removing the sludge and cleaning of rest of the drains have been undertaken by the provincial government.

“I have been on the roads for the last two days, on Monday I visited Karachi and on Tuesday Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas to review rain emergency arrangements and mobilize the concerned departments/organizations to implement a contingency plan.”

This he said while talking to media here at Commissioner office, Hyderabad on Tuesday evening. He was flanked by Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, MPAs, Sharjeel Inam Memon, Jam Khan Shoro, Abdul Jabbar and others.

The Chief Minister said that on July 26 and 27 Karachi received heavy rains, therefore some of the nullhas got choked due to certain reasons. “AT this the prime minister taking notice sent chairman NDMA to help the provincial government,” he said and added he was thankful to the PM and the NDMA for extending helping hand but “If the prime minister is really sincere in helping his government, he would finance mega projects instead of giving small drainage and water supply schemes for a few streets of Karachi,” he said.

To a question, the Chief Minister said that Centre wanted to engage them in a media war but “we have a lot of work to redress public problems and could not spare time for their irresponsible statements and discussions,” he said.

Hyderabad: The Chief Minister replying to a question said that out of 26 points/pumping stations of WASA 23 had been provided with dual power connection so that they couldn’t fail to pump out rain water.

He said that rain water could not be disposed of in gravity but it was always pumped out due to the peculiar location of the city. “I have held a meeting here today with all the stakeholders, including HMC, HESCO, WASA, Irrigation, deputy commissioner and commissioner to review their rain emergency arrangements and address the shortcoming, if any,” he said and added he had directed the divisional administration to remain on toes to manage heavy downpour, if it rains as per warning of the Met department.

To a question, the Chief Minister said that he released Rs70 million to Hyderabad division, of which Rs40 million had been earmarked for district Hyderabad, Rs5 million for Badin and Rs2.5 million for District Tando Mohammad Khan for cleaning of nullahs and monsoon preparation.

He added that Rs20 million had been released to DC Hyderabad for cleaning of Nullahs and Rs5 million had been disbursed to HMC and WASA to meet expenditures on account of hiring standby generators and fuel.

The Chief Minister, to another question, said that there were some Public Health engineering department schemes in rural areas of Hyderabad division which needed to be properly functional. “I am sending Minister PHE Shabir Bijarani to Hyderabad on Wednesday to meet with the divisional administration and inspect all his drainage schemes so that they could operate at their full capacity,” he said.

Earlier, Commissioner Hyderabad briefing the Chief Minister said that districts of Thatta, Sujawal and Badin shared a 100 km coastline right from Bambhore to Sajanwari and Kharochhan. He added that many villages situated at Garho, Juho, Keti Bandar and Sajwari had been protected through katcha band from sea water. At this the Chief Minister said that the band had been strengthened to sustain pressure of high tide during heavy rains.

It was pointed out in the meeting that SIM nullah had not been desilted as yet. At this the Chief Minister directed the irrigation department to start de-silting the nullah from tomorrow and report him.

The Chief Minister directed the HESCO chief present in the meeting to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all the pumping stations of the city.