KARACHI, Dec 27: A new township is coming up fast adjacent to Journalists Housing Society on Hawkesbay Road to resettle those displaced by the construction of Lyari Expressway.

The decision to develop the area for the rehabilitation of the people displaced by the building of the expressway was taken by President Gen Pervez Musharraf. The new colony is the first of its kind to be planned and developed after 1982 in Karachi.

The project is making good progress.

Launched in August, the project is being funded by the federal government.

It is learnt the federal government has given a loan of Rs300 million to the Sindh government to meet the initial cost of the project.

4,200 families are being shifted to the new colony in phases. During a visit on Friday, it was pleasant to see the fast progress that the colony has made in just four months. All this development has taken place quietly.

The colony is situated in Hawkesbay Housing Scheme No 42 in sector 9 and 10 next to the Journalists Society on Hawkesbay Road and the Naval Colony.

The project is spread over 165 acre where a total of 4,200 plots have been carved out. According to an official, of the 4,200 plots, 1,800 have been allotted and possession has been handed over to 1,600 allottees.

A brainchild of the City District Government Karachi, the project was launched on a directive of President Musharraf some four months ago. The task of implementing and overseeing the ambitious project has been given to District Coordination Officer Shafiqur Rahman Paracha.

The official said the first plot was allotted in August this year and within four months some 250 houses had been constructed and work on another 400 was going on in full swing.

A visit to the site of the Hawkesbay Scheme-42, with DCO Karachi Shafiqur Rahman Paracha and Project Director Nasir Hayat, was inspiring as the place, which presented a deserted look just four months ago, was now humming with life.

Newly-constructed houses provide a refreshing look to the landscape. The main road leading to the new colony has been topped with coal-tar and work on streets and link roads has been completed.

Water tanks have been built to meet the water needs of the people. Work on the colony’s project office is nearly complete. The office will liaise between different government agencies concerning health, education, social welfare, community development, etc, to rectify the complaints of the people.

A primary school and a secondary school are already functioning. A dispensary has been established to provide healthcare facilities to people.

It was pleasant to see families of allottees busy in the construction of their houses in a healthy environment. It was the zeal and satisfaction of a people who had been compelled to live, for decades, in the dirty and filthy atmosphere of the Lyari riverbed.

All this has been made possible by a team of dedicated officers led by the Sindh Chief Secretary, K. B. Rind, who was also visiting the project.

Of course, the task has been made easier by the motivational campaign and personal interest of the Nazim Karachi, Naimatullah Khan, and the DCO, Shafiqur Rahman Paracha. Mr Khan visited the project site several times to distribute cheques and to rectify the people’s grievances.

In a briefing at the project site, Mr Paracha said: “A sum of Rs60 million has already paid to the KESC for the electrification of the new settlement, which is yet to be named.”

He added that another Rs30 million would also be paid to the KESC soon to complete the work of power supply.

Mr Paracha said “We will built 10-12 big water tanks to arrange water for the new settlers till the time water supply pipelines are laid, for which tenders have been issued.”

He informed that now there was one single-section high school and one primary school in the colony, and the city government had decided to build another two schools: one high and one primary.

During to a visit to the primary school, a teacher informed that 133 students, including 48 girls, were enrolled at the school. There were 67 students in nursery, 26 in class I, 16 in class II, 10 in class III and seven each in class IV and V and two in class VI.

The headmaster said classes at the primary school began from Sept 16 and the students had been provided textbooks for free.

The project director informed that a market with 18 shops was also nearing completion. The shops would be allotted to locals through ballot to ply categorized trades.

The development work on the project gained momentum after a visit to the area by the Sindh governor and the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission some time ago.

In reply to a question, Mr Paracha said arrangements had been made for parks, playgrounds and mosques.

About gas supply, Mr Paracha said the gas company had been contacted for the purpose, and he hoped that this would be included in the current ADP and work might begin in the next six months.

He said building control regulations were being strictly adhered to and all construction work was being carried out according to the KBCA’s approved plan.

He added that unplanned commercial activity was not being allowed.

The DCO said there would be full din and bustle in the area after the entire road network in Hawkesbay Road would be completed, from Mauripur railway crossing up to Hawkesbay.

According to him, the new emerging township would be only a 15-minute drive from the city.

The briefing was also attended by officials of all the departments concerned.

According to Project Director Nasir Hayat, cheques have already been issued to 1,800 families who have been allotted plots here at the rate of Rs50,000 a family. The money was paid after verifications by various committees, including army monitoring teams.

Social welfare officers posted at the colony informed that they were providing guidance to the people on day-to-day problems. According to them, 60 applications have so far been received for Zakat.

The people are happy with the facilities they are being provided in the new colony.

During our visit, no body turned up to make any complaint or to express dissatisfaction. People, however, suggested that barbed wires be erected around the electric poles for the safety of children.

To create a healthy atmosphere, the city government is carrying out a massive plantations all along Hawkesbay Road and work on the development of a green-belt has also been taken up in the new colony which is later to be extended up to Hawkesbay.

The project area is spread over two sectors 9 and 10. Each sector has been divided into four sub-sectors. Each sector will have a Jama Masjid, and one mosque in each sub-sector.

The sub-sector A of sector 9 has 450 plots followed by 550 in B650 in C and 613 in D. In sector 10, the sub-sector A has 425 plots, B 375 plots, C 540 plots and D 428 plots. Besides, the two sectors also have commercial and amenity plots.

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