Hope rises for demolition drive victims in Karachi after PM intervenes
KARACHI: The plight of thousands of people whose houses had been demolished in a massive anti-encroachment drive aimed at widening three major storm water drains in the metropolis was recognised by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Wednesday when he directed the Sindh government to expedite efforts for their early rehabilitation and resettlement, it emerged on Wednesday.
In a one-on-one meeting with Sindh’s Caretaker Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar, the prime minister asked him to personally monitor the implementation of the resettlement project.
The meeting, which was held at the CM House, discussed at length the rehabilitation of the people displaced in the anti-encroachment operation at different storm water drains in Karachi.
The chief minister informed the prime minister that the families affected by the anti-encroachment drives along three storm water drains —Mahmoodabad, Gujjar, and Orangi nullahs — were being rehabilitated as per the orders of the Supreme Court.
Kakar asks caretaker CM to personally monitor resettlement of families displaced in operation to expand three major storm water drains in city
Only last week, the apex court had directed the provincial and local authorities to pay compensation on account of rent support to displaced families rendered homeless following a demolition drive within 30 days.
Then chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who had appeared before the court after it summoned in a contempt case, had assured the apex court that proper fund allocation had been made. The compensation and resettlement of 9,632 families displaced during the demolition operation for expansion of Gujjar, Orangi Town and Mehmoodabad nullahs had been pending for the past two years.
It was decided that the provincial government would disburse an amount of Rs15,000 per month on account of rental support per household for two years. However, until last week majority of the affectees were not given cheques.
However, it is learnt that Mr Shah had released the required amount on his last day before leaving the office of the chief minister in compliance with the court orders.
The Supreme Court had already directed the deputy commissioner (south) to disburse cheques within 30 days and ensure facilitation to the affectees in the process and removal of all difficulties that they might face.
The interim chief minister and the prime minister also discussed rehabilitation efforts for the flood-affected people across the province.
Justice Baqar informed the prime minister that the provincial government had already launched a rehabilitation programme for the people who were displaced due to floods and heavy rains last year.
Over 2.1 million houses were damaged, most of them completely, in the floods and the then provincial government of the Pakistan Peoples Party had set up the Sindh Peoples Housing Scheme for Flood Affectees (SPHF) for the construction of destroyed houses with the support of international donor agencies.
“The rehabilitation programme will be sped up because the winter is approaching, and people needed their houses,” he added.
The prime minister urged the chief minister to personally monitor the implementation of the rehabilitation projects to achieve the purpose.
Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2023