KARACHI, Jan 19: After cancelling the lay-out and building plans of a proposed high-rise project that the influential builder had earlier managed to have approved, the city government’s master plan group of offices (MPGO) has secured the threatened land that had been reserved for the Karachi Mass Transit Plan’s (KMTP) corridor III.

The builder of the project Saima Bridge View is now required to submit fresh layout and building plans after sparing a 60-foot-wide strip between Major Arshad Shaheed Nazimabad Bridge and his plot, which is reserved for corridor III. The new plans will have to be approved by the master plan group of offices and the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA).

Saima Bridge View is envisioned as a ground plus 14 storey commercial cum residential high-rise project, with a pent-house, on the one acre plot.

The influential builder, who reportedly enjoys a close friendship with the KBCA chief controller, had earlier managed to have the building plans approved – in violation of the city’s master plan – for constructing on the plot which is located next to Major Arshad Shaheed Nazimabad Bridge.

In a recent report, this newspaper pointed out that the KBCA authorisation of the construction had dealt a severe blow to the long-awaited KMTP and the Karachi Circular Railway’s (KCR) integrated plan.

Subsequently, Karachi Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal intervened in the matter and asked the heads of the three departments concerned – the master plan group of offices, the Karachi Mass Transit Cell and the KBCA – to recover the land reserved for corridor III and ensure that not even an inch of the land reserved for future development schemes was compromised at any cost.

‘Consensus decision’

Shortly afterwards, the executive district officer of the master plan group of offices, Iftikhar Kaimkhani, the director-general of the Karachi Mass Transit Cell, Malik Zaheer-ul-Islam, and the KBCA chief controller convened a meeting to review the approval of the layout and building plans of the high-rise project. The three officials came to a consensus decision that the builder be asked to spare a 60-foot strip between the bridge and the proposed high-rise building project; the builder agreed willingly, a high-ranking official told Dawn on the condition of anonymity on Saturday.

He added that the city government’s master plan department has now secured the land reserved for corridor-III. The 60-foot strip is reserved between Nazimabad Bridge and the builder’s plot and this land has been retrieved from the owner’s property. “As a result, the future development schemes of the city – the KMTP – have been incorporated,” he said.

Sources in the MPGO claimed that with the retrieval of the land reserved for the KMTP corridor-III, no difficulty will be faced in either the alignment of the proposed mass transit rail system or in integrating the KCR traffic with the proposed elevated rapid light rail which is to ply between Surjani-North Karachi and Nazimabad with branches to Banaras Chowk, Liaquatabad and Manghopir Road bridge along the 15.4 kilometre corridor-III.

Sources told Dawn that the proposed high-rise project will have showrooms on the ground floor with luxury apartments on the upper storeys. Once complete, it will face the busy Board Office intersection and all vehicles commuting to and from the building will use the intersection as their entry and exit point.

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