KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday took a policy decision to construct the portion of the Green Line bus project from the Numaish intersection to Municipal Park at grade so that it could be completed soon as it had already taken too long to complete.
The chief minister, who was presiding over a meeting held to review the Karachi Mass Transit and BRT project-related issues here at CM House, said the construction of a tunnel on M.A. Jinnah Road up to Municipal Park not only increased the cost of the project manifold, but various other routes of buses such as from Lyari, Keamari, Hawkesbay, Fisheries and others areas to M.A. Jinnah Road would be difficult to connect. “The main issue will be of connectivity of different routes of BRTs in the main junctions, therefore, we have to make it at grade,” he said.
Besides, he said, the construction work would also cause business activities going on at the markets operating along M.A. Jinnah Road to suffer as it would take a long time to complete the project. Therefore, construction of a two-kilometre-long tunnel was not feasible.
CM orders cancellation of contract of firms engaged for garbage lifting in the city
The meeting was attended by Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani, Transport Minister Awais Shah, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, P&D chairperson Naheed Shah, Local Government secretary Khalid Hyder Shah, Transport secretary Abbas Detho, the consultants and other officers concerned.
The chief secretary told the meeting that the federal government had given two options to the provincial government for the construction of the BRT Green Line infrastructure from Numaish to Municipal Park either at grade or underground. “The chief minister has to decide whether the project be made underground or at grade,” he said.
The consultants told the chief minister that at grade there would be a four-lane track which would be reduced to three lanes at some portions. At this the chief minister urged the consultants to manage these issues through traffic engineering, otherwise this ongoing project of Green Line would never see the light of day.
CM annoyed with growing filth
The chief minister, while presiding over another meeting convened specially to discuss the city’s cleanliness issues, was annoyed over the growing filth and garbage in the metropolis and directed the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) to cancel the contract of the private firms engaged for cleaning and lifting garbage in the city. He also urged the local government department to remove reluctant, inefficient and lethargic municipal commissioners from the DMCs.
“This is unacceptable and I can’t tolerate this reluctance and inefficiency on the part of officers concerned,” he said, recalling that the roads, most of which had been reconstructed recently, gave a dirty look because they remained uncleaned or partially cleaned. “Our DMCs’ officers have also failed to do their work,” he remarked.
“Wherever I go I see garbage lying on the roads and no relevant officer, including officials of the MCs and DCs, bothers to take action,” he said. The CM added that he “has also noticed that some standing trees have been chopped at Clifton bridge, the area of district South”.
“If anybody dares to cut a tree, he must be booked; I want to see them behind bars,” he said and directed all the DCs to protect trees in their areas and plant as many trees as they could.
Mr Shah told the SSWMB managing director that he was not happy with the performance of the firms engaged for cleanliness of district West. The performance of the private company hired to clean district South was also not up to the mark, he said, and constituted committees under deputy commissioners to monitor sweeping and cleaning work and lifting of garbage.
“I want this [to] be done at the sub-division level where assistant commissioners be assigned to keep their areas clean,” he said and added that the municipal commissioners of DMCs would be responsible to their deputy commissioner as far as the cleanliness work was concerned.
Mr Shah also directed the Karachi commissioner to personally watch every move in respect of cleaning of the city and start lifting the backlog of garbage. “I would start surprise visits to the city from the beginning of next week and would take strict action if any negligence is found,” he said.
Tree plantation directive
The chief minister also directed the Karachi commissioner, deputy commissioners and other local government officers to start tree plantation in their areas.
“The plantation of a tree is not enough but the planted sapling must be protected and grown with proper care,” he said and added that Karachi needed vast tree plantation and greenery and everyone had to play their role.
It was pointed out in the meeting that district Central was generating 2,200 tonnes of garbage, of which hardly 1,600 tonnes were taken to the landfill sites. Similarly, district West generates 2,500 tonnes of garbage and hardly 1,000 tonnes are lifted.
At this the chief minister expressed his serious displeasure and directed the DCs concerned to start lifting garbage as special assignments and procure services of some dumpers for removing the backlog.
He also ordered repair and painting of footpaths of newly constructed roads and beautification of important places. The Karachi commissioner would personally monitor beautification works.
Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2019