Plan for uplift of Karachi reviewed

Published September 4, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the chief secretaries to finalise a digital portal for the construction sector by the middle of this month. — Screengrab courtesy Prime Minister's Office
Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the chief secretaries to finalise a digital portal for the construction sector by the middle of this month. — Screengrab courtesy Prime Minister's Office

ISLAMABAD: Prime Min­­ister Imran Khan on Thu­rsday reviewed the Karachi Transformation Plan and directed the provinces to revise master plans of major cities to overcome disastrous civic issues.

Meanwhile, the prime min­ister amended his plan to visit Karachi on Friday (today) and is now expected in the country’s commercial hub on Saturday (tomorrow).

A source privy to the development told Dawn that the prime minister had cancelled his plan to visit Karachi on Friday citing some city-related unsettled issues regarding transfer of the control of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and waste disposal system from the provincial government to the administrator of Karachi to be appointed by the provincial government in consultation with the centre.

The source said Minister for Planning and Develop­ment Asad Umar had been holding meetings with the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government on transfer of power to the administrator of Karachi to resolve long-standing civic problems like choked drainage and sewerage system, poor waste disposal, upgradation of master plan of the metropolitan city and encroachments.

Meanwhile, Mr Umar held a separate meeting on the Karachi Circular Railway project to ensure its timely completion and start of work on its fourth phase on public-private partnership basis.

The prime minister also chaired another meeting to review revision of the master plan of Islamabad and uplift schemes in the federal capital.

Karachi Transformation Plan

According to the Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan said the biggest problems in civic matters of Karachi was a lack of transfer of administrative powers to the gross-root level. “It is the need of the hour to shift control on water supply schemes, sewerage treatment and disposal, solid waste management and the building control authority from the provincial government to the city administrator or local government to address these problems in Karachi,” the prime was quoted as saying.

He said unfortunately nobody had thought about the problems being faced by the people of Karachi in the past. The prime minister said that recent torrential rains in Karachi had not only exposed the pathetic administrative system but also created a number of problems for the people of the metropolitan city.

NCC meeting

Later, chairing a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on housing, construction and development, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to expedite work on revising master plans of big cities and submit progress reports on a regular basis. The government, he said, was committed to promotion of the construction sector as it was vital for economic stability.

He directed the provincial chief secretaries and heads of development authorities to upload information about approved residential projects on their websites and ensure getting the same updated on a daily basis.

“This would not only keep posted the overseas Pakistanis interested in the residential projects but also eliminate fraud in the name of such schemes,” he added.

The prime minister directed the officials to also make information about the unapproved projects available for the public.

Prime Minister Khan asked the chief secretaries to finalise a digital portal for the construction sector by the middle of this month.

The meeting was attended by federal Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz, PM’s special assistants Malik Amin Aslam, retd Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari and Dr Shehbaz Gul, Naya Pakistan Housing Authority Chairman retd Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider, the State Bank of Pakistan governor and the Federal Board of Revenue chairman. The federal secretaries and representatives of the Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) joined the meeting through video link.

On projects in Sindh, the meeting was informed that 19 development projects had been approved for construction on an area of 3.8 million square feet, which would cost Rs13.8 billion and generate an economic activity worth Rs 30bn.

Arif Habib, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi and other representatives of the ABAD apprised the prime minister of various projects.

The FBR chairman briefed the meeting on registered projects and taxpayers’ IRIS portal to facilitate the persons concerned.

The provincial secretaries, including the Gilgit-Baltistan chief secretary, spoke about the ongoing construction projects and transformation of the manual system into online service to minimise human involvement.

Prime Minis­ter Khan presided over another meeting on uplift schemes in the federal capital and directed the Capital Development Authority to transform Islamabad into a model city by focusing on improvement in health, education and uplift projects.

He said special attention should be given to haphazard construction in the outskirts of Islama­bad, preservation of green areas and removal of encroachments.

The prime minister also called for early completion of the Islamabad Metro Bus project.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2020

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