Who is choking Karachi’s sewerage system?

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As always, all hell broke loose after it rained in Karachi for five consecutive days last week.

Majority of the city’s roads and streets are filled with sewage water. It has damaged the infrastructure and continues to cause a traffic gridlock on almost all the main arteries of the city.

There are two main reasons for accumulation of sewerage water on the roads: a deteriorated sewerage infrastructure and blockage of sewerage lines by cloth, bags of sand and solid bricks placed by some “unidentified” elements.

The blockage of the sewerage system is becoming a sensitive issue with every passing day with the responsible parties – Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, DMCs and KMC – doing little over nothing to remedy the problem.

Whenever a rain spell hits Karachi, water accumulates for hours on the roads and streets.  Due to the absence of a proper drainage system, the sanitary staff of civic bodies has adopted an easy way out by opening manholes for drainage.

There are hundreds of manholes in different areas of Karachi that are open.

When you are visiting Liaquatabad, Karimabad, Hussainabad, Azizabad, Nazimabad, New Karachi, North Karachi, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Saddar, Agra Taj, Mosalane, Ranchore Lines, Malir, Saudabad, Model Colony, Shah Faisal Colony, Korangi, Landhi, Sherpao Colony, Baldia Town, Machar Colony and Surjani Town, you can see many streets and service roads without manhole covers.

The water board managing director, Asadullah Khan, does not rule out “political involvement” for this problem.

Incidences of blocked sewerage lines have been reported from Malir, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Clifton, Bufferzone, Shadman Town, Power House, Water Pump and old city areas, including Urdu Bazaar, Bohra Pir and Lea Market.

KWSB termed it a “collective sin”, but refuses to give the name of any political party involved in blocking the sewerage lines.

Khan says it is being done ‘intentionally’. He confirmed that massive blocks have been found in the sewerage systems of Malir and Saddar.

The KWSB managing director said Karachi has nearly 400,000 manholes and it is difficult to cover them all in regular intervals as drug users often steal the covers for the purchase of narcotics.

MQM’s Rehan Hashmi told Samaa Digital that cloth, sand bags and some other items have been recovered from sewerage lines and storm water drains at Shadman Town, Power House and Water pump areas after the recent rain spell.

“It becomes very difficult for us to tackle sewerage overflow during rainy days as the staff is already busy draining out rainwater from the roads,” he said.

Without naming any specific party, Hashmi said there is a presence of PTI and PSP in DMC Central and anyone can be involved in blocking the sewerage system.

“We are more vigilant than before and keeping a close eye on the miscreants who are involved in choking the sewerage system in DMC Central,” he said.

PPP leaders Saeed Ghani and Murtaza Wahab have already hinted that the MQM is behind the nuisance to upset the KWSB, as it is under the control of the Sindh government.

In a tweet, Ghani stated: Karachiites should identify those who are protesting on civic issues created on their own.

Wahab, a few days ago during a media talk, without naming MQM, said that the KWSB staff is taking out stones and heavy blocks from sewerage lines on a daily basis.

He said: ‘Tum jitney pathar dalo gay, hum nikaltay rahe gain’ (We’ll pull out stones from sewerage lines, no matter how many you put).