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KARACHI: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has expressed its willingness to provide funds for four mega projects in Sindh to be completed with an estimated cost of Rs137.7 billion.

The four projects are construction of the Karachi Expressway/Ring Road, Greater Karachi Sewage Treatment Project, commonly known as S-III, lining of KB Feeder and construction of the Kandhkot-Ghouspur bridge on the Indus River.

A delegation of the AIIB led by Vice President D.J. Pandian met Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at the CM House on Wednesday.

The chief minister was assisted by ministers Hazar Khan Bijarani, Syed Nasir Shah, chief secretary Rizwan Memon and other senior officials.

Referring to the S-III project, the chief minister said that 500 million gallons a day (MDG) of sewage was generated in Karachi and was being directly disposed of into the sea without any treatment. “This is a very serious issue and I want to resolve it any cost,” he said.

Recalling the details, Planning and Development chairman Mohammad Waseem said that work on Rs36.117bn project was in progress as the provincial government was investing Rs7.982bn from its resources to enhance the capacity of three treatment plants and to construct a new treatment plant of 200 MGD.

Lining of KB Feeder and construction of Kandhkot-Ghouspur bridge also on the cards

He said that as per the national environmental quality standards (NEQS) requirement, industrial units were required to undertake pre-treatment of industrial effluent before discharging it into municipal sewerage system.

Presently, 94 MGD industrial effluent was generated from five industrial estates of Karachi and disposed of directly into open drains.

The CM said that due to escalation of the S-III cost, the provincial government needed Rs28bn to complete the project. “This is the most important project for the city of Karachi which will make our sea free of pollution,” he said.

He said that with the establishment of five combined effluent treatment plants, the provincial government would be able to meet WTO requirements for seafood exports and other issues such as protection of natural water bodies from contamination, safeguarding of soil and groundwater and protection of agricultural crops from contamination would also be addressed. About lining of KB Feeder, special secretary irrigation Junaid Memon said that the design discharge capacity of the channel was 9,100 cusecs but due to silt it is only 7,500 cusecs.

Recalling the financial aspects of the KB Feeder project, Mr Waseem said that it would cost Rs20bn.

The CM also discussed the Malir Expressway/Karachi Ring Road project. He said that Karachi had a north-western bypass whereas a mega city like Karachi should have a proper ring road to facilitate traffic, hence there was an urgent need to construct a south-eastern bypass.

He added that the proposed corridor would provide efficient movement of vehicular traffic and goods from the Karachi port to other parts of the country.

He further said that the proposed Ring Road had two major settlements — DHA City and Bahria Town — which were developing at a very fast pace and required an alternative road network to alleviate the sufferings of commuters.

In addition to the two new townships, the Ring Road would also cater to the requirement of the Education City which had been planned to establish prominent educational institutions, he said.

Giving status of the project, Mr Waseem said that an expression of interest for construction of the road on a build-operate-transfer basis was invited by the local government department.

The environment impact assessment was under process and the PC-I was being prepared. An amount of Rs61bn was required for the construction of a 47.2-kilometre-long corridor (three lanes on either side).

Mr Bijarani said that the length of the present route connecting Ghotki-Ghouspur (Kandhkot) was 152km through Sukkur Barrage and 188km through Guddu Barrage. “If a bridge, Ghotki-Kandhkot is constructed, it would connect Indus Highway with National Highway and reduce the distance between the two cities to 127km.”

Mr Waseem said the project would cost Rs6.452bn.

The AIIB delegation was also briefed on other projects. However, they expressed their interest in the above-mentioned four projects.

The AIIB vice president urged the chief minister to send details, present status of the projects and concept papers to them so that they could present them in their board meeting.

He added that he and his team were satisfied with the four projects and would also support the provincial government to establish a desalination plant to provide drinking water to Karachiites.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017

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