Dr. Saeed Ahmed Ali]
LAHORE, Sep 7 (APP): There was a time when Karachi was called ‘Uroos ul Balad’ (bride of cities) and ‘Roshniyon Ka Sheher,’ (the city of lights). Karachi is the most multi-ethnic city with a distinct multi-ethnic culture.
Being a cosmopolitan city it is the largest catchy business center, a commercial magnet of opportunity and employment, great tourist attraction hub, the hub of banking, financial and corporate activity, stock exchange, gold bullion, thus making it the backbone of the economy of Pakistan.
According to a document of Karachi Water Sewerage Board (KWSB), the mega city with a population of more than 15 million generates around (an estimated) 13,000 tonnes of garbage waste daily.
To ensure sewage dumps at proper places and landfill sites, the local government has been working on a World Bank funded project, but the implementation on this pathetic situation, a project with a very late start, was not taken seriously, the document said.
Similarly, unrestrained housing and encroachments on water nullahs and natural waterways are other big reasons for drain clogging with polythene bags.
The Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority estimates the majority of the more than 5,000 slums in Karachi are built alongside drains such as Gujjar Nullah.
Recent heavy rains have wreaked havoc in the cosmopolitan city, Karachi. the most thickly populated city of Pakistan, by unleashing floods and inundating neighborhoods and streets.
According to Karachi Municipal Corporation Record, the city experienced the worst devastating torrential rains during the past 100 years, killing at least 41 people.
National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) sources told APP that urban flooding has completely inundated several neighborhoods, adding that hundreds of thousands of people were still trapped in receded flood water mud, due to waterlogging in low-lying slums.
Residents of these localities had been without electricity and mobile phone connections for hours, they said. In March 2019, PM Imran Khan announced a Rs.162 billion package for Karachi city.
Likewise on August 30, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to solve the mega city’s problems.
On August 31, 2020 the Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the concerned departments to finalise ‘Karachi Transformation Plan’ within a week.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday (September 5) unveiled an unprecedented and historic financial package worth Rs1.1 trillion for Karachi’s transformation that he said would address the chronic municipal and infrastructure issues of the country’s financial hub.
The prime minister during the press conference on Saturday had said that the plan would be implemented through the Provincial Coordination Implementation Committee (PCIC) working under the Sindh chief minister.
All stakeholders will be involved in its implementation, “The army will play a big role,” the PM added, observing that the army helps the civilian administration whenever there are floods or a calamity. “The package we have brought for Karachi is historic,” Prime Minister Imran said.
The plan included water supply, encroachments on nullahs, sewerage system and solid waste disposal problems to be solved on a priority basis.
“We will make a proper system,” Prime Minister Imran said. Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) president Mian Anjum Nisar while talking to APP said that ‘Karachi Transformation Plan’ was a commendable vision of the premier, which was people-friendly, adding the dynamic leadership of prime minister Imran Khan and through his Riasat-e-Madina vision, he would steer the country out of the economic gloom.
He said that it was for the first time in the history of Karachi that such a massive plan was being initiated which would be providing relief to the desperate strata of the mega city. Situation of Karachi after torrential rains was critical and it had exposed the performance of the past governments, he said, adding that no government in the past had paid attention to the development of the city as was required.
To a query he said that the Prime Minister had announced a massive package for Sindh in the crucial time.
It should be ensured that each penny would be utilized on improving the infrastructure of Karachi, he emphasized.
Central Leader of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Nazar Muhammad Gondal said that after accomplishment of the plan the betterment would be coming out of the hard times that Karachi’s people had been facing for the last many decades.
He said that helping the destitute or needy segments of society was a priority agenda of the PTI government and Karachi Transformation Plan was a clear evidence that Prime Minister Imran Khan was working day and night for the uplift and welfare of the general public.
Nazar Muhammad Gondal while giving the details of the premier’s Karachi package said that an amount of Rs 92bn would be spent on water supply projects, Rs 267bn on solid waste management, storm water drains clearance, Rs 141bn on sewage treatment, Rs 41bn for roads while Rs 572bn for mass transit, rail and road transport has been included.
The day was not far when Karachi would be counted among the developed cities of the world, he concluded.