KARACHI - The threat to people’s life and property looms large on the roads due to billboards and signboards in the metropolis which may collapse any time during the expected monsoon, thanks to the negligence of local authorities concerned who failed to implement preventive measures.

The billboards and signboards have been installed on the roads and rooftops of the various buildings despite orders issued by the Karachi Commissioner to remove the heavy billboards in the metropolis, TheNation has learnt.

The orders of Karachi Commissioner Roshan Ali Sheikh for removal of billboards before the rainy season have not been implemented by the advertisement companies and authorities concerned. The Local Taxes Department of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had formally issued notices to all stakeholders and advertisement companies for removal of billboards in upcoming monsoon.

However, the department had not taken action against the decrepit big billboards of the City and advertisement companies are not showing interest in the removal of the week signboards. On the other hand, no such directives for removal of billboards have been issued to the stakeholders doing business within the jurisdiction of cantonment boards including Clifton Cantonment and Faisal Cantonment.

 The advertisers have also been directed to place thermopile in order to cover the holes. Technical experts said that the KMC engineers, who have not studied the aerodynamics, calculated a wrong policy at a wrong time. It is not only the monsoon season when gusty winds could be expected but also the escalating global warming around the world especially in Sub-continent could provoke sea or wind storm any time. They say that thermopile covering would not be strong enough to repulse the wind pressure and thus the iron sheets would lose the welded joints from the main panel and cause more damage if dropped.

It is pertinent to mention here that in the last monsoon on June 23, 2007, a number of high-rise steel billboards fell down and hundreds of passers-by were killed. The majority of those incidents had occurred within the precincts of cantonment board.

Commissioner Karachi Roshan Ali Sheikh on Sunday through a statement said that the government would not compromise on the safety of citizens in upcoming monsoon. He added that in case any hoarding and billboard falls during the rain, the government would lodge case against advertisement company and department concerned, which issued NOC to the advertiser.

Meanwhile, KMC Municipal Department has not completed work of cleaning major nullahs of the City including Gujjar Nullah, Malir River Bed and Lyari River Bed because machinery of KMC is out of order condition, thanks to the negligence of the technical works department of KMC. An official of KMC informed that the Corporation lacks required machinery to complete cleanliness of nullahs.

Meanwhile, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KW&SB) also has not started work of cleanliness of sewerage system in the city. various slum areas of the metropolis are already facing big problems of blockage of sewerage lines besides sewerage water accumulate in these areas including New Karachi, Orangi Town, Manghopir, Qayyumabad, Sultanabad, Liaqutabad, Site Area, Lyari, Kemari and other parts of the City. The Karachi Electric Supply Company is also not playing its role to remove the kundas of electricity, which may cause loss to human lives in case of rains.