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SHC irked by DHA, CBC reply to contempt plea against them

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday directed the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) and the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) to submit complete details with regard to the assignment of work relating to storm water drainage in the areas under their jurisdictions.

The direction came on a contempt-of-court application filed by residents of DHA against the chief executive officer of the CBC, the chief engineer and others for not complying with the court’s orders with regard to the submission of details relating to storm water drainage.

The residents of DHA and Clifton had filed a petition with regard to the effective infrastructure for a sewerage and drainage system, and compensation for the lives lost and the damages to properties suffered by the citizens of Karachi during last year’s monsoon rainfall.

The counsel for DHA and CBC filed comments, but the court expressed dissatisfaction over the replies to the contempt application, and observed that counter-affidavits should be filed

on behalf of the alleged contemnors.

The counsel for CBC and DHA sought time to file counter-affidavits on behalf of the alleged contemnors. The court directed the alleged contemnors to submit their replies within two weeks.

The applicants’ counsel had earlier submitted that the SHC on May 24 had directed the DHA and CBC to submit details with regard to the engagement of the services of expert civil engineers to design and complete the second stage of storm water drainage and the assignment of work relating to storm water drainage.

They submitted that the alleged contemnors had not provided the relevant details and requested the court to issue show-cause notices to the authorities concerned for not complying with the court’s directives.

Petitioner Azar Kalwar and other residents of DHA and Clifton submitted in the petition that at least 41 people had been killed across Karachi due to the monsoon rains on August 27 and 28 last year.

They said that the residents of Karachi, including DHA and the cantonment areas, had suffered losses amounting to millions of rupees due to catastrophic flooding.

They also said that there was a complete failure on the part of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the cantonment boards, the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board, the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, the DHA and the Karachi Development Authority, as they had been extracting millions of rupees as taxes under different heads, but spending nothing on infrastructure.

They further said that there should be a complete audit of the amounts being received by them because nothing was being applied for the maintenance of infrastructure. They sought the constitution of a committee to conduct a comprehensive evaluation in respect of drainage infrastructure and order for the DHA and cantonment boards to take all the necessary steps to construct an efficient storm water drainage system throughout the area.

They also sought various injunctions in respect of collection of development charges and conducting any further land reclamation and construction of floodplains and essential channel for drainage.

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