The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has formed a special team to scrutinize the fiscal affairs of three cantonment boards in Karachi, the city’s metropolitan corporation and other departments for the last three years in the wake of heavy rains inundating several parts of the city last week– exposing the authorities’ lack of preparedness to deal with such a situation.
According to a notification issued by the AGP office, the team is headed by the deputy director of the DG Audit (LC) Sindh.
Its other members include DG Audit (LC) Sindh’s two audit officers and two assistant audit officers.
The special team will conduct an audit of the funds spent by the city’s departments on preparing for a rain emergency from 2017-18 to 2019-20. It will also ascertain as to how much funds were released to these government agencies. The team will then submit its report to the AGP.
The terms of reference for the audit have also been approved.
Apart from the three cantonment boards and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), the team will also scrutinize the funds received and spent by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and six district municipal corporations. A separate audit of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board will be conducted.
The team will ascertain the capacity of the city’s drainage system and the manpower and other resources for the disposal of garbage. In case it is found that adequate funds and resources were available, the team will determine why they were not used to prevent the disaster witnessed in the country’s economic hub.
The encroachments on the city’s drains and the efforts to remove them will also be reviewed.
Last week’s heavy rains have left Karachi’s infrastructure in tatters – urban flooding inundating several neighborhoods and thoroughfares and residents suffering without electricity and cellular services for several hours.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department recorded 230.5mm of rain in Karachi on Thursday, the highest ever recorded in a single day. It also broke the record for the highest amount of rain during the month of August in the city since 1931.
Low-lying areas in numerous localities remained inundated with filthy, garbage-ridden water after sewers overflowed, while potholes and cracks appeared on several roads. At least 40 people died in rain-related incidents in the city.
While rainwater has receded in many areas, miseries continued for residents of the city’s upscale Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Clifton areas.
Home to those who operate in the top tier of the pecking order, including the President of Pakistan, the current provincial chief minister, and a long list of power players in the city, the DHA can easily qualify as a disaster zone after the rains paralyzed much of the city.
Irked residents, who claim they pay the highest property taxes in town, said the area was neglected by those who are at the helm of affairs at DHA and the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC).
Across much of DHA, streets and homes were flooded with rain and sewage water last week. The drainage and sewage systems, residents believe, was either already clogged or never functional. A realtor who operates from DHA Phase 2 commercial market said the sprawling upscale area, which spans over 9,000 acres, has the most expensive properties in town but fewer facilities for its residents. The majority of its 81,500 residents are retired armed forces officers, politicians, bureaucrats, and capitalists.