‘Govt reappropriated Rs200m from Gujjar Nullah rehabilitation project’

Oonib Azam
Saturday, Aug 05, 2023

karachi: The Sindh government has reappropriated Rs200 million from the project of the rehabilitation of the Gujjar Nullah and Orangi Nullah affectees to a road construction project in Sukkur namely, ‘Construction/Rehabilitation of Primary Secondary Roads in Sukkur District’.

The Supreme Court had directed the provincial government in its 2020 decision to immediately rehabilitate the Gujjar, Orangi and Mehmoodabad Nullah, and Karachi Circular Railway project affectees. Civil society organisations are filing a contempt petition in this regard against the provincial government for not following the SC verdict.

The SC verdict by Justice Gulzar ordered the provincial government to rehabilitate and resettle the affectees of all the above-mentioned projects immediately, directing that they be provided with alternative housing, for which an ad-hoc independent commission be formed.

The Karachi Bachao Tehreek (KBT) held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Friday in this regard. KBT, Shehri, Urban Resource Centre, Legal Aid Society, Awami Workers Party and over 40 others have filed a constitutional petition against Sindh government’s contempt of court by refusing to follow SC orders.

On June 14, 2021, the chief minister was directed to ensure that the affectees of Gujjar Nullah and Orangi Nullah were suitably compensated and rehabilitated. The KBT said that being the head of the provincial government, the CM had not complied with any court directions.

An amount of Rs15,000/month per household was to be given to the affectees, and it was announced that they would be accommodated in the Federal Government Housing Scheme in Karachi. “There have been no efforts whatsoever by the government and its representatives to make this happen,” the KBT said in their press statement.

Independent researcher Sadya Siddiqui pointed out that the provincial government came up with a scheme, titled ‘Resettlement of Affectees of Gujjar Nullah, Mehmoodabad Nullah and Orangi Nullah’, at an estimated cost of Rs9.432 billion, and the approval date of the project was December 2021.

She explained that in 2021 the Sindh and federal governments constituted a Provincial Coordination and Implementation Committee (PCIC) for the Karachi Transformation Plan, saying that the committee made the scheme for the rehabilitation of the nullah project affectees and distribute cheques among them.

The scheme got approved in December 2021 with a target date of completion of June 2024 at an estimated cost of Rs9.432 billion. Sharing the breakup of the estimated cost, she said the construction of housing unit cost is Rs5.939 billion, infrastructure development Rs870.397 million, external development cost Rs1 billion, social sector development cost Rs384.520 million and miscellaneous provision cost Rs1.229 billion.

Siddiqui found on the Sindh Finance Department’s dashboard that an expenditure of Rs42 million has been made for the scheme until June 30, 2023.

The Sindh government reappropriated Rs200 million from the rehabilitation scheme’s estimated cost in March 2020 to another road construction project scheme in Sukkur, which has the serial number 2552.

The budget document stated that by June 2024 only eight per cent expenditure would be made from the estimated count, as “it appears that there will be no rehabilitation until then”.

The PCIC constituted a Project Implementation Unit to monitor and implement the rehabilitation scheme. Their mandate was to monitor the cheque distribution and plot allotment process to the locally displaced persons.

The unit has made an expenditure of Rs466 million in the financial year 2022-23, but the budget document has no break up of this.

According to the PC-1 of the rehabilitation scheme, the government is planning to construct 6,500 housing units at 257.23 acres at a space available with the Malir Development Authority (MDA) in Taiser Town for the displaced people. Every unit will be 80 square yards.

The proposed site-I is Sector No. 87, Taiser Site, Scheme 45 of the MDA. The proposed site-II is Sector No. 16, Taiser Town, Scheme 45, while proposed site-III is Sector No. 61, Taiser Town, Scheme 45.

The KBT said no rehabilitation policy was instituted and no rent cheques were