Dysfunctional city: Karachi pins hopes on LG representatives

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KARACHI: After much ado, the local government system in Karachi has finally come to life, with newly-elected representatives recently taking oath, and now all eyes are on them to see how successfully they can solve the port city’s problems.

Nonetheless before the city’s challenges can be tackled, it is pertinent to identify them first. Hence, Daily City News interviewed several of the newly-elected local body representatives to gauge what in their view were some of the biggest issues that different areas of the metropolis were currently riddled with.

“The foremost problem in my area is drainage,” said Amin Khakheli, who recently took oath as Vice Chairman of Maripur Town’s Lal Bakhar Union Council. “The sewers in our area overflow daily due to the old sewage lines, and it is high time they are replaced to accommodate the rapid increase in population,” he said, adding that currently the main lines are 12 inches wide, whereas the street lines are 9 inches wide.

“The size of the main lines should be increased to 12 inches, and the street lines should be increased to 9 inches, to solve the area’s sewage problem,” Khakheli, who won on the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket, suggested.

Muhammad Salman Khan, Chairman of Saddar Town’s Union Council No. 8, also believes that sewage is the biggest problem in his area. “The old sewer lines are rotting away and desperately need to be changed. The Sindh government should provide funds for this issue on a priority basis,” Khan, who associates with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), implored.

On the other hand, Khizar Baqi, Chairman of Gulshan Iqbal’s Union Council No. 8, believes that the lack of public transport is the port city’s biggest problem.

“Even though we have recently gotten new buses, they are not enough to address the city’s actual public transport needs,” regretted Baqi, who is associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami. “The country’s most populated city needs to have a transport system that cities like Lahore enjoy. Therefore, the Sindh government should immediately restore the Karachi Circular Railway.”

While it remains to be seen whether issues like sewage and public transport will be addressed anytime soon, other newly-elected local body representatives that Daily City News spoke with, identified the lack of cleaning water in the city as the most pressing issue, and one which needed an urgent resolution. Former vice chairman of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Najmi Alam, concurred with this demand. “The daily requirement of water in Karachi is about 1,100 million gallons per day (mgd) but only 580 mgd is available,” informed Alam.

“If the provincial government wants to solve the clean water issue, they need to get the federal government on board and reconstruct the Hub Canal and increase the water quota for Karachi from the Hub dam on a priority basis,” the former vice chairman suggested while talking to Daily City News.

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