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KARACHI: Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair on Wednesday announced that work on four mega projects, three flyovers, two roads, as well as procurement of firefighting tenders equipped with modern technology, would begin in the city next week when their foundation stones would be laid.

He said these projects, which would cost Rs8.61 billion, were part of the Rs25bn Karachi Development Package the prime minister announced last September. He said these were in no way a violation of the election commission’s code of conduct.

Governor Zubair stated this while speaking at a press conference at Governor House on Wednesday. He said in addition to these projects, flyovers at Sakhi Hasan, Five Star and Board Office, Manghopir Road and Nishtar Road, procurement of firefighting tenders and modern equipment, setting up a modern hospital and establishment of a medical college in the University of Karachi, costing Rs8.4bn, would also be taken in hand soon after.

Delay in transport, water projects explained

He said some of the projects of the Karachi package such as the Lyari Expressway had been completed while Green Line Metro and K-4 water projects, supposed to start operation last October/November, were delayed because of infrastructure issues. He said another reason for the delay in Green Line Metro Bus was an extension in the project from Gurumandir to Tower as suggested by the Sindh government. However, he said that due to technical problems of shifting water, sewerage and other lines, work on the main metro station with attached modern mall at the Numaish Ground had been delayed. But now the federal government had decided to complete all metro stations from New Karachi to Gurumandir by June and hand them over to the Sindh government which, according to the agreement, had to arrange, maintain and operate the Green Line Metro.

In reply to a question the governor said the Sindh government had floated tenders to purchase model buses, which were later cancelled. But now the Sindh government planned to start operation of the Green Line Metro initially with a fleet of a dozen buses on a trial basis soon after taking over the metro project.

In reply to a question, Governor Zubair said that in Thar over five billion dollars had been spent on 1,320MW power projects while two LNG terminals had started operation at Port Qasim.

He said the federal government wanted to start some more projects of sewerage, water supply and reconstruction of roads to provide better facilities to the citizens in accordance with metropolitan standards but owing to elections the election commission had imposed a ban on launching new projects.

He said that although under the 18th Amendment development projects were the responsibility of the provincial government, the federal government had initiated uplift projects in provinces, particularly in Karachi, which is the economic jugular of the country, as per its vision of economic progress and development. With the completion of these projects, people would get relief and pressing issues would be resolved to an extent.

In reply to another question, he said the Sindh government was unable to run colleges and schools in the province and yet was taking control of universities. He said Sindh had lagged far behind in quality of education than all other provinces and Azad Kashmir.

Referring to the clashes which occurred between two political parties in Karachi on holding a public meeting at the Hakim Said ground, he said had the matter been decided earlier, the law and order situation would not have been created, which threatened a repeat of the May 12 events.

He said it was the responsibility of all of us, including political parties, to fully cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to ensure durable peace in the city.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2018