Real estate tycoon offers to clean up Karachi, as mayor blames CM Sindh for curtailing powers, ‘apathy’

AMOSA Report — Pakistan’s real estate tycoon Malik Riaz, who owns Bahria Town housing development, issued a statement on Friday, offering to clean up the country’s financial capital where millions of tons of garbage remain unattended causing inconvenience to residents and business houses.

The real estate magnate with mega investments in the metropolis, requested Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to give him the authority to dispose off the trash piles. Bahria Town will initiate a cleanliness campaign in the city from Monday, he announced.

His offer was endorsed by the city mayor Mr. Wasim Akhtar, who said the business community was offering its help because the Sindh government has failed to do its job.

Addressing a press conference at the old Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) building, Akhtar and the chairmen of Central, Korangi and East District Municipal Corporations (DMC) announced they have agreed to seek legal action.

“We have written enough letters to the Sindh government. Now I won’t write any more letters nor will I ask for any meeting with the chief minister,” said Akhtar. The local government elections were held due to pressure from the courts so we will seek legal help to ensure delegation of powers too, he added.

The mayor’s 100-day cleanliness drive came to an end on Friday but with no visible improvements in the city, according to reports.

Akhtar blamed the Peoples Party-led Sindh government for curtailing his powers, and announced he will go to court.

“Had we been facilitated, we would have cleaned more than half of the city,” he said. Karachi remains dotted with garbage piles, he added.

According to reports, the most famous food street of the city, Burns Road, is still dotted with piles of garbage.

The cleanup campaign had kicked off in three districts of the city – Central, East and Korangi – where his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), is in majority.

With the help of 284 loaders and 4,686 dumpers, the mayor said to have lifted 1 million tons of garbage from the backlog. Apart from this, he said that small and large nullahs of the city, such as, Gujjar Nullah, Neher-e-Khayyam and Mehmoodabad Nullah were also cleaned of garbage and encroachment.

Akhtar blamed the Sindh government of running Karachi the way a landlord runs his constituency. Multiple municipal agencies, such as the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, Karachi Water and Sewage Board, Sindh Building Control Authority, Karachi Development Authority, Master Plan Development and Town Planning and Urban Transport and Mass Transit department, are placed under the Sindh government, he said.

“All revenue-generating departments have been taken away from the mayor’s office. Neither are you working yourself, neither letting us work,” he said.

“They think that if they don’t let the MQM work, the party will not get votes in the 2018 elections,” he added. “In 2018, we will get more votes.”

Meanwhile, at a hearing on the petition against garbage heaps, the Sindh High Court sought replies from the authorities concerned with clearing the trash and disbursing the required funds. The federal and provincial governments, Cantonment Board and other departments have been asked to submit a report within three weeks.

And, as Karachi drowns in garbage (reports Dawn), one woman has made it her mission to recycle and reuse industrial waste. Nargis Latif’s idea is to create homes and furniture out of Karachi’s garbage . Her “Gul Bahao” project transforms plastic materials rejected by factories into bricks that can be made into low-cost shelters, furniture and pretty much anything else. The project is not only aimed at cleaning up garbage, but at reducing its output and prevent it from going up in smoke, which is the common practice of burning garbage.

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