SHC summons Dadu DC over slow floodwater drainage

A division bench of the Sindh High Court’ (SHC), Hyderabad circuit bench on Tuesday expressed its anger and resentment over the delay in drainage of floodwater from Khairpur Nathan Shah while calling out Dadu Deputy Commissioner Syed Murtaza Ali Shah over the issue.

The justices also warned DC Shah to get him arrested by SSP Dadu if he failed to comply with the court orders. Multiple petitions were filed at the SHC Hyderabad bench on the dewatering process in KN Shah and other nearby villages. A contempt plea was filed against Dadu DC Syed Murtaza Ali Shah, DG Health Sindh Dr Mohammad Juman, Dadu district health officer (DHO) Dr Ahmed Ali Samejo and medical superintendent taluka hospital KN Shah Dr Sikandar Ali Naich for allegedly failing to provide facilities to the flood-affected people. The court conducted a hearing into the case on Sep 21 and also summoned officials on Sep 27.

The plea was filed by advocate Altaf Sachal Awan. At the outset of the hearing on Tuesday, the bench comprising Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Justice Amjad Ali Sahtio asked KN Shah Assistant Commissioner Sonu Khan Chandio to contact Dadu DC and seek the time frame for disposal of water drainage and warned of his arrest in case of his failure to do so. KN Shah AC appeared before the court on behalf of Dadu DC. The deputy commissioner was due to turn up at the court in person as a contempt of court notice was issued to him besides others on a plea.

“How can you make compliance of orders when you have even don’t read the court’s previous orders?” Justice Kalhoro asked KN Shah AC Chandio. The AC responded that the deputy commissioner was in Dadu due to the arrival of the prime minister. “The PM is coming for a photo session and the DC is present there”, Justice Kalhoro resented. He added: “We need to know what kind of medicines are provided to people affected by ravaging floods as well as how many funds have been released and how many relief camps have been set up in the district”.

Sono Chandio also presented visual proof of works being undertaken by his department in flood-hit areas of the district. To which, the court remarked that the pictures provided by him seemed to show as if officials were “having a picnic in the area”. Justice Kalhoro referred to the AC, saying “you should hire a photographer for taking photos during rescue work. Your selfies suggest you were having fun there.”

He said SHC wanted to know about the strategy being employed to drain floodwater out from KN Shah. “You people are waiting for water to recede on its own. What is your plan to drain out water from K N Shah?” the court asked the AC as he preferred to keep a mum throughout the proceedings. “We will ask the senior superintendent of police in Dadu to take the deputy commissioner in custody,” Justice Kalhoro warned.

The judge told the assistant commissioner to contact DC Shah over the phone and return to court in an hour’s time to share the response of the DC following the court’s directions. The applicant had prayed to the court to initiate contempt proceedings against contemnors for violation of Sept 13 court orders in which the orders were issued for the installation of dewatering machines in KN Shah, as well as the establishment of medical camps in flood-affected areas of Dadu district.

Hanif Samoon is a senior journalist based at Thar/Badin and contributes reports from different districts of Sindh to Minute Mirror. He has won a number of awards, including the Agahi Award twice for his stories on health and child rights. He tweets @HanifSamoon1 and can be reached through email at hanifsamoon@gmail.com

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