KARACHI: Eminent architects and town planners have recommended making a new and independent master plan of Karachi for the next 100 years to turn the city into a beautiful metropolis with an efficient public transport system.

They also highlighted the need to revive the Karachi Circular Railway.

These recommendations were made at a conference held here on Wednesday on the subject of ‘Transforming Karachi’. The conference was presided over by Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah. The others who spoke at the moot included Yasmin Lari, Shahid Abdullah, Prof Dr Mir Shabbar Ali, Marvi Mazhar, Asad I.A. Khan, Prof Noman Ahmed, Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, chairperson Planning and Development Naheed Shah Durrani, senior member Board of Revenue Qazi Shahid Pervaiz and Commissioner of Karachi Iftikhar Ali Shallwani.

Highlighting the need to take effective steps for the promotion of cultural heritage of the city, the other recommendations by the conference pertained to land-use conversion, restoration of public parks, playgrounds and other amenities. The participants also stressed close coordination among the government, experts and academia for the development of Karachi, establishment of a history museum in the city, restoration and preservation of heritage buildings, revisiting the buildings declared earlier as heritage by the culture department.

The agenda of the conference was to bring Karachi back to its glory which is best suited for the people and residents, restoring the parks, playgrounds and amenities, which have been converted for commercial purposes, developing an efficient public transport system, including circular railway, property tax and new reforms.

Earlier welcoming the participants, the chief secretary appreciated the noted architects and urban master planners for making the conference a success by their suggestions. He said that their suggestions would help the department make necessary laws and improve infrastructure of Karachi and look after its civic amenities.

He also informed the participants that the ministerial committee in its two sittings had also deliberated on master plan and had taken various decisions, including the establishment of a Sindh master plan authority.

The CS said that the Sindh government was also working on a major project ‘Karachi Water & Sewerage Services Improvement Project (KWSSIP)’ to meet the water needs of the people of the metropolis. “The proposed project will be completed in a period of 12 years with an investment of $1.6 billion to be shared by WB, AIIB, GoS at the ratio of 40:40:20,” he said.

The project has been designed to be executed in four phases. The first phase which would cost $100m would be executed in 4 1/2 years with a provision to start the second phase after one year of the first phase. The chief secretary also assured the experts on heritage that the provincial government would provide sufficient funds for the rehabilitation and preservation of heritage buildings of Karachi.

Local Government Minister Nasir Husain Shah said that the government of Sindh was going to develop Karachi with the support of civil society and the suggestions advanced by civil society for the master plan would be taken care of while finalising the new master plan and all landowning agencies of Karachi would have to follow new laws and the master plan.

During the conference, Naheed Shah Durrani and other project directors and experts, have given their detailed presentations on various projects. The director general of the Urban Policy and Strategic Planning of Sindh, managing director of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, the director general of excise and others attended the conference.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2019