If you drive from Johar Chowangi to Habib University you will see a nullah whose reinforced cement concrete or RCC safety walls have collapsed. The connecting main and service roads have also sunk in. The nullah was already broken and clogged with garbage before the monsoon and the rains made it worse.
The 1.5km nullah’s job is to transport sewage from Gulistan-e-Johar and it ultimately fall in the Malir River at Pehelwan Goth. It passes in front of Erum Shopping Center and remains open till Pehelwan Goth.
According to the Met Office, 66mm of rain fell in Gulistan-e-Johar and 55mm in Pehlwan Goth. This was too much for the nullah to bear and much of it collapsed, damaging utility pipelines in the process. “The walls of the nullah were already broken and we had to be careful while walking and driving, especially at night,” said Areeb Khan, 34, who lives in the area. Now the collapsed patches of road by the nullah pose another threat. The entire area is congested with traffic and shoppers for the weekly Monday Bazaar set up on the service road by the nullah. Cars also use the service road as the area has homes and shops.
As the area was developed by Karachi Development Authority and the nullah falls in its Scheme 36, people registered complaints against KDA on the Pakistan Citizen Portal, an online grievance redressal system made by the PTI government.
An executive engineer for development in KDA, Rahat Faheem, said that the department has been answering the complaints but according to him, the nullah doesn’t fall in their jurisdiction. He held Cantonment Board Faisal responsible for its reconstruction and rehabilitation. “When the whole area is under the CBF, even the right and left sides of the nullah are under them, how can KDA be held responsible for the nullah?” he asked.
The area is residential-cum-commercial and the CBF collects property tax, road cutting tax, conservancy tax and other commercial taxes from the area. “The CBF is a master at taking taxes but when it comes to road development they are to be seen nowhere,” said Faheem, “nor will they allow anyone else to work.” Start digging any road in this area and within minutes the CBF team will come and ask for approvals. “How are they then not responsible,” he added.
This much was confirmed by Kamran Saeed, an overseer at the CBF. He said that the area is under them and they collect the taxes, but the responsibility for the nullah lies with KW&SB. “We have done some cleaning work to facilitate the people but it’s not our responsibility,” Saeed said. “Multiple letters have been written to KMC and KW&SB for the cleaning and rehabilitation of the nullah.”
When we asked KW&SB superintendent engineer Imdad Hussain Magsi asked about the letters, he said that they doesn’t respond to such correspondence. “We are not answerable to the CBF but only to the Sindh government,” he replied.
According to Magsi, the drainage lines running with the nullah are KW&SB’s responsibility but the nullah isn’t. “We recently replaced all the drainage lines of the area and now there is no leakage,” he added. But given that the drainage lines are still broken, we asked why the lines still leaking. He said: “They might have been leaking until yesterday, but today they are not.”
KDA prepared a PC-1 budget proposal worth Rs295 million for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the nullah. “Someone had to do it,” Rahat Faheem said. “We sent it to the Local Government department of the Sindh government.”