The demolition will start Thursday
The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation will launch an operation to remove concrete structures around the Gujjar nullah in Karachi on Thursday.
In the first phase, the KMC cleared the stormwater drain of soft encroachments like shanties and cattle farms. But the demolition of concrete structures has been delayed because of a few reasons.
The Sindh government formed a signatory committee for the distribution of cheques among the affectees. The committee comprising the metropolitan commissioner and District Central deputy commissioner were to issue the cheques.
During demolition around the Mehmoodabad nullah, compensation cheques were issued after signatures by the metropolitan commissioner and District East deputy commissioner.
But the Sindh government decided to permanently appoint the committee members. It has replaced the deputy commissioner by an additional commissioner at the Commissioner House.
Senior KMC Katchi Abadis Director Mazhar Khan says the matter has been resolved and the committee has got two permanent members including the metropolitan commissioner and the Commissioner House ADC.
This replacement was made because a committee member had to be changed each time. This is because the Mehmoodabad nullah is in District East, where as the Gujjar nullah is located in District Central. The Orangi nullah — the third stormwater drain the government has decided to widen — falls in District West.
“This issue is causing a delay of a few days in clearing solid encroachments at the Gujjar nullah,” Khan said.
The removal of concrete structures along the drain will start from Nala Stop in New Karachi Thursday, according to the official. The process of cheque distribution has begun and 20 affectees have so far been compensated for their loss.
He said the KMC was handing over compensation cheques to the affectees before demolishing their houses. “It is handing over cheques of Rs90,000 for a period of six months.”
Around 2,000 concrete houses on either side of the drain are to be demolished above 30% or more, according to Khan. Residents of these houses are eligible for compensation.
The KMC started removing soft encroachments around Gujjar nullah in the start of February. The drain was cleared of all soft encroachments last week.
Senior KMC Director Bashir Siddiqui said the removal of concrete structures around the Gujjar nullah was to start Tuesday. But the operation has been delayed by two days due to a change in the government committee, he said.
A senior KMC official, who spoke to SAMAA Digital on condition of anonymity, said the KMC was facing an “uphill task” as it didn’t have much time to clear three major stormwater drains of Karachi by June before the start of monsoon season.
It took the KMC over a month to clear encroachments around the Mehmoodabad nullah, he said. There were only 58 concrete houses around the drain, according to the official.
There are around 2,000 concrete structures on either side of the Gujjar nullah, which are to be demolished by the KMC. It has four-and-a-half months to clear the Gujjar nullah in District Central and Orangi nullah in District West.
“We have to complete this activity by the end of June before the monsoon,” the KMC official said.
“The KMC is facing difficulties in fixing utility networks around the Mehmoodabad nullah and the same issue will be encountered after the Gujjar nullah operation.”