24 February 2024
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Residents of DHA and Cantonment Board Clifton office gathered at its offices in Karachi to protest against the lack of services, master planning, storm water drains that function and the authority’s response during the monsoon flooding crisis that destroyed property. They said that they were angry that the authority had not created or maintained a proper civic infrastructure for residents, despite collecting taxes. They want an audit of current and past accounts of the CBC and transparent disclosure to residents. They also pressed for accountability on the money spent on “a totally non-functioning drainage system made in the middle of the roads”. DHA’s storm water drains were designed in 2004-05 and constructed at a cost of Rs3 billion, by digging up a strip of the road and covering it with concrete slabs with slits. This solution was more like an afterthought for one of Karachi’s largest, most expensive real estate tracts. The concrete crumbles and create an uneven surface for vehicles. These drains are supposed to channel rain water to the sea, but their network is not extensive enough to handle a monsoon. After DHA constructed these box drains, they were handed over for maintenance to the Cantonment Board Clifton in 2008. “The Rs3 billion was spend on proper channelization of 60% of storm water drains and the DHA administration decided to complete the remaining work at a later stage,” said an officer, who could not be named as they are not permitted to speak to the media. The monsoon flooding led to devastation in DHA. The residents have demanded damages be awarded to those residents who have been affected by the clogged drains and gutter lines. They want the broken roads, drainage and sewerage lines to be immediately fixed and adequate water supplies to be provided. In the meantime, DHA started tweeting. “DHA Storm Water Drain – Myth and Reality: DHA Storm water drain was constructed in 2007 with planning consideration of last 100 years precipitation record of Karachi (207 mm rain in 24 hrs 1977).” It went on to add: “Much before the onset of ongoing monsoon season complete desilting and cleaning of drain was carried out. Perhaps nature had greater challenge for us, as against our sustenance capacity of 207 mm rain in 24 hrs the current spell was 235 mm in 12 hrs (more than double).”

Abdul Gh Lone