THE Sindh government has invested a massive amount of money in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) without any long-term planning. Karachi has been confronting many problems, and one of the issues is damaged roads in every nook and corner.
In 2016, projects were initiated at the earliest point of University Road and completed at Mazar-i-Quaid within six months, and the total project cost was Rs884 million. Now the Red Line project under the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme worth Rs1 billion is under construction these days on the same route.
No doubt, the administrative body is trying to address the grievances of the local public by providing better transpor-tation facilities, but where is the element of long-term planning?
According to international standards, a road has 10-15 years of useful life. However, in the case of University Road, it only lasted five years, as a little over one lane of the road has been reduced and there has been excavation and other hectic construction activity going on related to the Red Line project. In addition, roads have been wiped out by the rains that lashed the city several months ago.
The quality and work done by the cons-truction company are not according to the relevant standards. Eventually, roads could not even withstand a single spell of rain.
Nevertheless, excavation is often under-taken by gas, electricity and tele-communication companies. They usually leave debris on the road, which causes hazardous problems, such as air pollution and road accidents. More importantly, they destroy raods and pavments.
The administrative bodies should invest in their planning before starting any project. The environmental assessment reports should be conducted by professionals. The construction work of projects must be given on the basis of the corporate proposal rather than a bid. There should be proper checks and balances on the involved persons and firms. Heavy penalty should be imposed on companies that destroy public infrastructure. All these elements are not easy to implement and ensure by the relevant bodies, but if there is a will, there is always a way. It is evident that if long-term planning is missing, it is only the taxpayers who face the consequences.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022