KARACHI-The Sindh High Court (SHC) observed on Wednesday that Karachi’s urban flooding was ‘a great tragedy that no one cared about’, while hearing a case related to the port city’s sewage and drainage disposal.

The two-member bench, comprising Justice Khadim Hussain M Shaikh and Justice Arshad Hussain Khan, sought detailed reports on the matter from the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB), Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Central district municipal corporation (DMC) and other relevant authorities on August 13.

Irked over heaps of garbage in Central district and choked drains that led to severe inundation of the city’s roads, Justice Shaikh stated that the entire city was flooded owing to rampant illegal construction and undisposed heaps of garbage. “Every institution blames the other,” the justice observed as he continued to rain criticism down on the city’s authorities.

The judge further questioned if anyone had seen the cars floating in the rainwater, how people’s belongings got destroyed as their homes were flooded and how they were unable to rescue their children from flooded homes. “Would any of us be willing to step into dirty water after the rain?” he inquired.

The government lawyer told the court that it was the responsibility of the KMC and the SSWMB to pick up garbage from Central district.

However, the petitioner’s counsel accused him of lying, adding that the SSWMB had not been giving the responsibility of collecting garbage from the district.

On the other hand, KMC director Masood Alam maintained that SSWMB was responsible for collecting garbage rather than the KMC.

Expressing anger towards the provincial government and local governing authorities, the court summoned the relevant officers from the KMC director and Karachi mayor’s offices.

“We live in the same city and know the situation. The institutions have put citizens’ lives and property in danger,” observed Justice Shaikh, as the court rejected the reports presented by KMC, the DMC and other authorities.

He further questioned the provincial government’s lawyer about the arrangement for disposal of offal during upcoming Eidul Azha, seeking detailed reports on this too.

The lawyer replied that the government had to provide funds to the relevant institutions and then arrangements would be made to dispose of the offal. He added that private contractors would remove the offal.

To this, Justice Shaikh replied that the government was more concerned about funds even before the work had started. “We want to see the government’s performance on Eidul Azha,” he added. The bench sought detailed reports from SSWMB, KMC, Central DMC and other relevant authorities on August 13.

Contempt of court

Separately, the bench directed a petitioner to file a contempt of court plea against the KMC, the relevant DMC and other relevant authorities for failing to remove an illegal cattle market in Bakra Piri, Lyari, despite court orders.

Hearing a plea against illegal cattle markets in Lyari, the bench inquired what the government was doing regarding the matter, pointing out that there were complaints about illegal cattle markets each year.

The counsel representing the DMC maintained that they had written to the police and other authorities for the markets’ removal, adding that those involved in setting up the markets could disturb the peace in the area. The court expressed annoyance with the KMC, DMC and other authorities for failing to comply with judicial orders, remarking that contempt of court action would be taken against them. The court directed the petitioner to file a contempt of court plea against the KMC, DMC and relevant authorities.