KARACHI, July 22: Development work in the city will be undertaken in three phases under the city government’s Karachi Strategic Master Plan (KSMP) 2020, which will be made public after its formal approval by the city council.
Well-placed sources in the CDGK told Dawn that land use maps, identifying sites for development projects in each of the phases, would be released for the information of the general public and the organisations concerned.
Giving details of the planning, they referred to the relevant section of the KSMP-2020 stating that in the first phase spanning over four years (2007 to 2010) development work would carried out along the eastern half of the Northern Bypass which included Taiser Town, Scheme-33. Construction of a transport and trade centre at the intersection of the RCD Highway and the Northern Bypass would also be undertaken in the same phase.
In the second phase stretched over five years (2011-2015) a government offices complex would be constructed on Super Highway. Additional residential blocks and a town centre in the western half of the Northern Bypass, and an Information Communications Technology (ICT) Centre would also be part of the development work in this phase.
In the final phase spanning over five years (2016-2020) focus would be on completing the ICT Centre and the adjacent housing schemes.
The Master Plan refers to the urban land management with observation that many residential subdivisions have not been built out (a little number of housing schemes has materialised), primarily because of speculations. Since this phenomenon greatly undermines the efficiency of urban infrastructure investments, water and sewerage trunk mains must extend to new sites whereas system capacity should be upgraded to accommodate additional population, it suggests.
With a view to ensure that houses are built and people lived there, and also to promote consolidation of housing plans, ‘sunset clauses’ will be added to lease contracts for selected land development projects, especially those meant for the low-income groups. The clauses will make it mandatory upon the owner of a piece of land to maintain a justifiable pace of construction work within three years after getting possession of the property failing which he might lose his right to keep the property with him. The proposed KSMP also states that in such a case, the right will revert to the developing party, which would refund the defaulting owner’s payment.
Building control laws
Pointing out that the building controls set out under the Sindh Building Control Ordinance, 1979 are not applied to federal agencies and their lands, the KMSP suggests that the relevant laws be amended to ensure application of the building controls to all structures in the city district limits, irrespective of the owning agency.
Underscoring the need for introducing changes in the development code, the KSMP says this will help the CDGK get necessary powers to regulate the development activity pertaining to various types of mixed use, mid-rise and high-rise constructions foreseen in the strategic development plan.
The KSMP also proposes that the Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations (KB&TPR) 2002 be revised to establish a two-tier development control process. First, special development authorities with specific geographical jurisdictions will review and provide preliminary approval of proposed development projects. Then applications will be submitted to the CDGK for final approval. In this way, special authorities will participate in regulating the development of their areas while the CDGK will maintain its position as the final arbiter of development control decisions.
Highlighting that the existing five categories mentioned in the KB&TPR-2000 are not sufficiently articulated to enable the types of development foreseen by the KSMP-2020, the master plan says that firstly, land-use need to be regulated on a zone-by-zone basis. This is not to say that zones should include only one land; rather, most zones should be mixed use, and in many cases the predominant use should be identified and the land-use defined and represented on the city’s land-use map.
Moreover, height regulations need to be more specific, providing minimum and maximum values in measurement and number of stories in order to facilitate mid-rise development in the high-density areas and along major arterial and some secondary roads.
Mentioning that high-rise development needs to be undertaken only in a few selected locations where water and sewerage pipelines are upgraded, it says that high-rise development will be prohibited in other areas.
Besides, overhead large tanks to serve the community would be mandatory for any scheme or high-rise development to ensure 24/7 hours (24 hours a day and seven days a week) and water supply with normal pressure.