The judicial commission probing Sindh’s water and sanitation issues has directed the relevant district and sessions judge to depute a judicial magistrate who would conduct random surprise visits to keep a check on the continuing practice of sand lifting from the bed of the Malir River.
The judicial commission headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro issued the directives at Saturday’s proceedings which were being conducted in light of the Supreme Court’s directives regarding continuation of the commission’s investigation.
A three-member SC bench had ordered that the judicial commission constituted by the court shall continue to work with all powers conferred on it, as the issues in these proceedings have a direct impact on the life and health of the public of Sindh.
The SC bench had ordered that the judicial commission shall ensure compliance of the court’s directives and shall also take all steps to see that the taskforce constituted by the Sindh government adheres to the recommendations proffered in the report.
The commission, at earlier hearings, had taken exception to reports regarding lifting of sand from the Malir riverbed, which continues to damage the conduits of water passing under. The DIG for District East submitted a report on steps taken to check sand lifting from the riverbed, which stated that three checkposts had been established to deter those involved in the act.
The police officer, moreover, had requested that at least three more checkpoints be setup for the purpose, preferably to be manned by Sindh Rangers.
The commission issued notices to the provincial home secretary and the Sindh Rangers chief to appear either in person or file comments through representative on May 6.
Ordering the district judge for Malir to depute a judicial magistrate for surprise visits to check lifting of sand from the riverbed, the commission declared that the magistrate would also verify whether or not the three checkpoints have been established, as claimed by the DIG East.
The commission also directed the Sindh IGP and DIG East to provide necessary security to the judicial magistrate deputed for the purpose. The judicial magistrate has been told to submit reports on a weekly basis.
It is pertinent to mention that in a report submitted earlier, the district and sessions judge for Malir had disclosed that the practice of sand lifting from the Malir riverbed had not been completely stopped.
At a hearing on April 8, while speaking regarding complaints of lifting of sand from the Malir River bed, irrigation secretary Jamal Mustafa Syed had told the commission that proper monitoring would be ensured through an officer of his department to prevent this activity. He added that weekly reports would be submitted to the commission.
The irrigation secretary, who is also chairman of the task force, also submitted detailed report in compliance with the judicial commission’s recommendations. He had submitted that the task force had formulated components to work on and time frames and target dates for the completion of tasks.
Reporter. Judicial commission orders magistrate to conduct surprise visits. The News, May 1, 2017.