KARACHI      -   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presided over a high-level rain-emergency meeting at CM House on Thursday and spelled out his priorities like improved service delivery and damage control.

He declared divisional commissioners as focal persons and said various departments, including administration, police, local bodies, PDMA, hospitals and PHE, would work together at commissioners’ offices to provide maxim service to people of rain-affected areas.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Shabbir Bijarani, Makhdoom Mahboob Zaman, Saeed Ghani, Syed Nasir Shah, Faraz Dero, Adviser to CM Murtaza Wahab, Acting Chief Secretary M. Waseem, Chairperson of P&D Nahid Shah, IG of Sindh Police Dr Kaleem Imam, Commissioner of Karachi Iftikhar Shahlwani, Secretary of PHE Roshan Shaikh, Additional IG Ghulam Nabi Memon, Secretary of Local Government Khalid Hyder Shah, Secretary of PDMA Riaz Soomro, Special Secretary (Tech) of Irrigation Department Aslam Ansari, PDMA DG Syed Salman Shah, deputy commissioners and SSPs of districts of Karachi. Divisional commissioners, additional inspectors general, DIGs, deputy commissioners and SSPs of other divisions and districts of the province joined meeting through video link.

PDMA BRIEFING: The meeting was told that a well-marked monsoon low pressure has formed over North Bay of Bengal and adjoining areas. It is likely to move westward and reach Indian Gujarat around morning of August 9, 2019. Under the influence of this system a widespread rain/wind thunderstorm with moderate to heavy falls may occur in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad divisions during August 9 to 11. It was disclosed that scattered rain/wind-thunderstorm were expected in Sukkur and Larkana divisions during this period.

The meeting was told that heavy fall may generate urban flooding in Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad districts on Saturday and Sunday.

The chief minister said he was chairing another meeting within 24 hours: the first one in Hyderabad and the second one at CM House. He once again directed all local bodies through Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah to keep water pumps in a good working condition and de-silt all choked drainage systems.

To a question, PDMA DG Salman Shah said the provincial emergency operation centre has been operational round the clock. He said that districts have been told to submit their requirements for assistance to cope with the catastrophe.

The PDMA on the instructions of the chief minister has provided 141 heavy de-watering (DW) pumps (25-45 HP, 6 to 10 diameter) to four divisional headquarters. 53 dewatering pumps have been provided to Karachi Division, 67 to Hyderabad division, 15 to Larkana, and six to Sukkur Division. The PDMA said that still 95 dewatering pumps were available in their stores and could be used as and when needed. To another question of the chief minister it was pointed out that Karachi has 10 crane mounted vehicles and each vehicle was equipped with has two de-watering pumps. Hyderabad has six crane mounted vehicles, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad have two each.

Hyderabad: The chief minister talking to Hyderabad divisional and district administration on video link said that WASA was failed in de-watering exercise because of power failure. They should have made alternate arrangement for power source to operate their pumping stations. “I would not tolerate such failure this time – we all have to learn lesson from pout past mistakes and have to work with new spirit, vigour and experience,” he said.

Special Secretary Irrigation Aslam Ansari said that the Irrigation department has constructed barriers/weirs with the objective to mitigate flash flooding, slow down velocity in hill torrents, hold water to enable percolation, raise ground water table for economic pumping, evenly distribute run off, flatten the channel bed slope and elongate flow duration to prevent flooding of adjoining areas.

Murad said that it was misconception that detention weirs cause flooding. The weirs were not water generating devices, he said and added delay action prevent from flooding. He said that in absence of weirs flash flooding would be more severe and total quantum of flood would be higher without weirs as they hold some water. Aslam Ansari said that none of the weirs failed during current rains. The chief minister said that the main root cause of urban flooding was closing of natural lines such as construction of road embankments without proper cross over, plotting over hill torrents beds and encroachment right in water way of hill torrents. Special secretary irrigation Aslam Ansari said that housing schemes have been constructed on Lat Nai.

Hydraulic Studies of Karachi: The chief minister said that he wanted to conduct hydrological studies of the Karachi. “I am planning to connect dead end drainage line to the main storm water drainage system that is Lyari River and Malir River,” he said and added important installations like Grid stations and pumping stations would be protected by constructing ring bunds.

MD KWSB Asadullah Khan said that the sewerage system of the city was not designed for intake of rainwater. He added that the solid waste, debris and garbage of roads flow into the sewerage line while running with rainwater during rains which caused sewage blockages. Minister Local Government Nasir Shah said that hig alert was in place with instructions to all KWSB engineers and personnel for fulltime preparedness of rain emergencies. He added that special emphasis has been laid on upkeep and readiness of sewer cleaning vehicles- the vehicle mounted with suctions and jetting units have been made available.

He said that KWSB concerned officers, including himself would keep patrolling round the clock of the bulk transmission system, canal, syphons, conduits and other installations in remote areas such as Dhabeji, Gharo, Pipri, NEK HUB pumping station and filter plants. The chief minister directed KWSB MD to immediately report power failure/faults at pumping stations to K-Electric. The power failure causes serious problems, therefore it must be informed in time.

The chief minister also directed all the divisional commissioners, Particularly of Hyderabad to mobilese all concerned department such as administration and local bodies, PHE in its districts so that they could face the situation in case of heavy rains.

Murad said that the Commissioner and deputy commissioners must have a data base of the machinery such as excavators, shovels, dumpers, generators working in public or private sector so that they could procure in case emergency.

Police; The IG Police Dr Kaleem Imam told the chief minister that police would be ready to help district administration and people, all over Sindh in case of any emergency. He said that his force would be ready and will be available on call when and where their services would be required.

The chief minister directed the IG Police to activate Traffic police during heavy rain so that they could regulate traffic on the roads. He also directed him to work out a detailed security plan during Eid so that everything must remain under control.

The chief minister directed deputy commissioners and local bodies to make efforts for allowing slaughter of sacrificial animals at appropriate places/grounds etc so that offal may not floating with rainwater everywhere in Karachi and other cities.

In the conclusion of the meeting the chief minister directed all the hospitals to declare emergency and arrange necessary medicines so that they could provide best services to the people during heavy rains and Eid days.