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Meanwhile, responding to Dawn queries, the Sindh Nadra chief, Brig Raza Qizilbash, said that after a recent meeting between a Nadra team and the city nazim, the nazim said that the centralised, computerised registration in the city would start soon. He said that the naib nazim had also assured that the process would start shortly.

(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 08/06/2007)

KWSB, Fire Brigade issue contradictory statements on death of workers

A senior fireman along with other two workers of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) died of what could best be described as continuous negligence on part of the authorities. As it seems, no precautionary measures were taken before the three stepped down into an 18 to 20 feet deep manhole, near Pakistan Chowk on late Saturday evening, only to face death.

Sources from police, KWSB and Fire Brigade department are all giving different reasons for the cause of these deaths but the information revealed by these sources so far has one thing in common that none of the KWSB workers and the fireman was wearing gas masks.

According to the police, Irfan Ahmed and Danish, the KWSB workers descended into the manhole to connect an old line with the one recently installed by the water board when they fell unconscious inhaling poisonous gas. The fire brigade team reached the spot for rescue operation.

Nazir Muhammad, the police added, went down with some life jackets and tied the other two as to pull them up but it could lift the load and the victims fell down. In the mean time, other workers managed to pull them up and they were rushed to the JPMC where they breathed their last. None of the three was wearing any gas masks, the police added.

When contacted, Ehtisham Saleem, the Chief Fire Officer, told The News that Nazir had slipped while rescuing the two KWSB workers and consequently he suffered a severe head injury that caused his death.

“He was wearing breathing apparatus as protection against the deadly gases therefore it would not be correct to say that he died of inhaling the gases,” Saleem said, adding that the cause of his death was the head injury with severe bleeding. Explaining the complication of the operation, the fire chief said that the entrance to the manhole was narrow and it caused difficulty in rescue operation. He admitted that the KWSB workers were not wearing any gas mask.

Meanwhile, a press release from the KWSB stated that the cause of death of these men was not the negligence of the department. It further stated that the board had installed a 54-inches dia sewerage pipeline at Pakistan Chowk and an old line was being connected to this new line. It also stated that the KWSB personnel were present at the spot with all necessary arrangements.

As the details revealed, one man descended into the manhole to connect the old line to the new one. During the process, poisonous gas emitted from the old line. When this man was being pulled up with the help of a rope, it broke and he fell down. Another worker, who tried to descend into the manhole, could not proceed due to the strong emission of gases. Meanwhile the fire brigade squad reached the spot.

The press release added that one fireman descended into the manhole who later died in this rescue operation. It also mentioned that there was no negligence on part of the KWSB and they carried out the operation with all precautionary measures. The Managing Director KWSB announced that sufficient compensation would be given to the families of the deceased.

It is not for the first time that the low income government servants have become victim of such mishaps.

The authorities never take responsibility of these incidents. The KWSB may be right in saying that they took all precautionary measures before the operation and a similar statement may be issued by the Fire Brigade department and other authorities as well. But it boggles ones mind that whether precautionary measures meant outdated life jackets, no oxygen masks and ropes that cannot lift even three people.

(By Farooq Baloch, The News-14, 18/06/2007)

Huge fire breaks out at Tariq Road

A major fire broke out on Monday afternoon in Amir Trade Centre situated at Tariq Road. The fire was so intense that it completely gutted three offices causing loss worth millions of rupees. Fire officials declared the intensity level to be fire number-3.

As per details, the fire broke out in an office situated on the fourth floor of the building at about 2:45 p.m. Within minutes, it spread to other parts of the centre completely damaging three offices and reducing goods worth millions of rupees to ashes.

Thick black smoke could be seen coming out of the building from far-flung areas of the city. At least 18 fire engines of the KMC and one snorkel took part in controlling the fire. The fire fighters extinguished the fire after the struggle of four hours, while they also used foam to contain it.

Soon after the fire erupted, the KESC authorities and the Sui Gas officials rushed to the scene and disconnected the connections. The cause of the fire is stated to be an electric short circuit. The firemen said that some walls inside the building were also demolished to pave the way to other shops. When the fire erupted early afternoon, more then 250

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