Language Learning

Chinese sanitation company told to fix its act in Karachi

By October 26, 2018 No Comments

Learn a langua­ge to commun­icate in, Justic­e Muslim tells chairm­an of Chines­e firm

PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

KARACHI: The language barrier was one major impediment in the hearing of the Supreme Court-mandated Judicial Commission on Water and Sanitation on Thursday, when the head of the Chinese company, Changyi Kangjie Sanitation Engineering Company, contracted to collect solid waste from Karachi appeared before the commission.

The commission’s members, headed by Justice (Retd) Amir Hani Muslim, communicated with the Chinese firm’s chief through an interpreter. At the outset, Justice Muslim asked the chairman if he understood English or Urdu. The latter, who was accompanied by a female interpreter, replied in the negative, prompting Justice Muslim to remark that being the head of such a big company, he should learn a language to communicate in.

Following up on his earlier question, Justice Muslim asked the chairman if he knew why he had been summoned, before asking the interpreter to tell the chairman that his company had failed in its responsibilities and that there were tonnes of complaints against its operations.

Chinese firm’s performance in Karachi’s waste disposal deemed unsatisfactory

To this, the company’s counsel interrupted that the chairman had assured to resolve all the issues. The commission head asked the counsel to be seated and refrain from interrupting the proceedings.

In response, the chairman asked the court to order settlement of its outstanding dues. To this, the commission remarked that instead of addressing the issues, the company was asking questions. Justice Muslim asked the interpreter to tell the chairman why payments to the company had been suspended.

The company chairman told the commission that its bills from 2017 had not been cleared. To this, the managing director of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board told the commission that the payments had been suspended after multiple objections were raised regarding the bills. The Chinese company is obligated to carry out 30% of the work through a local contractor, he said.

Justice Muslim remarked that the commission had given several relaxations to the Chinese company, which had in turn continued to operate due to the weaknesses of the Sindh government.

The company’s performance was not fitting for it to be allowed to continue with the contract, said Justice Muslim. To this, the company chairman said that the local administration was not cooperating with his firm. In response, the commission questioned whether anyone was asking for extortion money or preventing the company from fulfilling its responsibilities.

We are not here to resolve your payment disputes, the commission head remarked.

Subsequently, the commission ordered to constitute a committee, comprising representatives from the Chinese company and the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board to resolve the payment disputes through dialogue and negotiations. The commission ordered the committee to present its report by October 30.

Encroachments

Separately, the commission gave one month’s time to the authorities to clear up the encroachments on Khalid bin Waleed Road, Sir Syed Road and Allama Iqbal Road.

The deputy commission for Karachi District East Ahmed Siddiqui told the commission that the administration had cleared up the mess and the roads were being carpeted.

He added that encroachments between Disco Bakery and Gulshan Chowrangi had also been cleared and that the district administration was carrying out a full-fledged campaign after the by-elections. Siddiqui said that the entire district would be cleared of encroachments within a month.

Meanwhile, the Sindh Building Control Authority DG Iftikhar Qaimkhani told the commission that residential plots on Sir Syed Road were being used for commercial activities and that the administration had initiated a crackdown against them.

Judicial commission comes down hard on Chinese companies

The counsel for Karachi Development Authority maintained that they were carrying out a crackdown against illegal structures. To this, Justice Muslim remarked that the KDA was in the habit of leaving rubble from their anti-encroachment drives in their wake. “I am also a resident of Karachi and I can see that on the roads,” he said. “You are not telling the Supreme Court that the mess is still lying over there,” he told the counsel.

Water woes

Residents living on both the sides of the Lyari river appeared before the commission to apprise its members of their woes regarding the use of heavy duty generators and boring by the industries. The residents requested the commission to order the removal of the line that passed through Sher Shah river. To this, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s MD asked the residents to speak of the problems they were facing and abstain from pinpointing the Lyari river. The commission head, however, advised the water board’s MD to listen to the petitioners.

Later, Justice Muslim remarked that the administration was making great profits while the city was facing acute shortage of water. Meters are not being installed to monitor water supply, he said, adding that were meters to be installed, everyone’s business would come to a halt. The administration is not serious in improving the water supply system.

The commission hence directed all petitioners decrying the suspension of water supply to appear before it on November 6.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2018.

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