KARACHI - The Sindh High Court on Thursday came down hard on the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) and Defence Housing Authority (DHA) over the situation that surfaced in the areas under their jurisdiction after the recent rains. A two-judge bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi remarked that these areas had become a nightmare for their residents, and asked the counsel for the DHA if any data was gathered about the losses caused by rainwater. Justice Rizvi deplored that there were heaps of garbage in Clifton and DHA after the recent rains but nobody bothered to dispose them of.

The bench made these remarks while hearing two petitions filed after flooding during and after the torrential rains in August 2020 in DHA and Clifton and the petitioners had sought formation of a committee to supervise sanitation projects and forensic audit of the CBC and DHA accounts.

Justice Rizvi also asked the counsel for the respondents that they were collecting taxes from the areas in question, but why the situation was not improving. The judge said that earlier, a private company was lifting the garbage on a daily basis, but now the respondents themselves took the responsibility for the collection only once in a week.

He warned of appointing a nazir for inspection after the counsel for the respondents insisted that the garbage was being lifted regularly.

Justice Rizvi further remarked that the residents of such areas were distressed and the value of their properties was also declining while there was a fear of dengue outbreak due to lack of proper sanitation.

The counsel for the DHA informed the bench that a contract to construct a nullah for drainage of rainwater in DHA Phase IV and VI had been awarded to the National Logistic Cell (NLC).

He submitted that the NLC was undertaking the cleaning work of Korangi nullah after the bench asked him whether it had any experience of the field. One of the lawyers for the petitioners argued that the NED University of Engineering and Technology was seeking Rs20 million fee for the evaluation of drainage infrastructure in the areas coming under the CBC and DHA.

In September previous year, the SHC had directed the NED university to conduct the evaluation of the drainage infrastructure within the jurisdictions of the CBC and DHA and sought its report within one month after the counsel for petitioners had asked the court to appoint a qualified sanitation engineer to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the drainage system in question.

The court had also directed the CBC, DHA and the petitioners to provide requisite information and documents to the vice-chancellor of NED university and asked the petitioners to pay the fee of such evaluation to the university.

Initially, around 60 residents had filed a petition before the SHC and sought formation of a committee to supervise sanitation projects and conducting a forensic audit of the CBC and DHA accounts after the auditor general’s report found irregularities. Later, another identical petition was also filed.