THIS is with reference to the report ‘Civil society ready to fight CBC over beach ‘uplift’ plan” (Nov 13). It was not expected of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) at least to accord approval to a project of Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) for the so-called development and beautification of the seafront from Dolman Mall to Village Restaurant.

It sure will add a feather to Sepa’s cap. Over about half-a-century, the hapless citizens of Karachi have watched helplessly the so-called ‘development and beautification’ of projects meant for the public, like Aziz Bhatti Park, Safari Park, Jheel Park, Hill Park, Gutter Bagheecha and others, by the civic agencies. Now the Seaview beach is going to be another victim.

The sea has already been pushed back to make room for lucrative projects. The unwritten formula, originally devised by the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) master planners, was good enough for the CBC to follow.

It was simple. Leave the site in its pristine beauty for some time for the people to visit and enjoy. Then neglect it for a period of time so that the site may putrefy and become odious and unsafe for the visitors. When it is sufficiently destroyed, initiate a project loaded with contractual civil works involving the use of brick and mortar along with steel, electric poles and fancy lights that will turn what was once a ‘beauty’ into a modern ‘beast’.

Next, invite some VIP to cut the inaugural ribbon, and then leave the place to turn into a bazaar, bustling with pushcarts, food stalls, advertising boards, and, above all, a money-minting opportunity for all the relevant people.

Devoid of aesthetics, the bosses of civic agencies have a natural discernment for making any project lucrative. Aah, Karachi! What crimes are committed under thy name!

S.M. Shahid

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2021



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