Karachi to be transformed under Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Project
KARACHI: The government has devised short and long-term plans to transform Karachi into a beautiful city, which include development of roads and parks, restoration of old buildings and evolving a proper traffic management system.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said this while presiding over a meeting on the World Bank-assisted Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Project (KNIP) at CM House on Friday. Karachi will get a new face after the project, which will be the face of prosperity, claimed the CM.
Shah said that the World Bank, at the request of the Sindh government, carried out a Karachi City Diagnostic (KCD) to support the provincial government in the implementation of the Karachi Transform Strategy through short-term and long-term engagements. The KCD estimated that at least $10 billion would be required in the next 10 years to close the city’s infrastructure gaps.
Planning and Development Chairperson Mohammad Waseem said that in the short-term the World Bank has agreed to support KNIP by focusing on fast, low-cost and high-impact involvements to respond to the emergent city needs. “At present, KNIP stands approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council [Ecnec] and the loan agreement has already been signed by the World Bank and government,” he said.
Giving a presentation to the chief minister, KNIP Director Khair Mohammad Kalwar said that the project’s cost is $98 million, of which $12 million will be funded by the Sindh government. The project aims at enhancing public space in targeted neighbourhoods, improving road infrastructure to enhance mobility and improving the city’s capacity to provide selected administrative services, he added.
Talking about component-I of the project, the project director said it includes renewal of the city’s downtown area in Saddar, enhancement of roads and public spaces in Malir and mobility improvement in Korangi.
In the renovation of Saddar, heritage buildings at Pakistan Chowk and its adjoining areas will be restored, while roads will be reconstructed with new water and sewerage lines. It has also been decided that different roads in the area will be made one-way for traffic and footpaths, with beautiful benches and plants, will be built.
The area from DJ College to the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi will also be developed on the same pattern with a one-way traffic route along with construction of parking lots and development of parks and open spaces with benches for visitors.
It was also decided in the meeting that parking along the roads will be strictly prohibited and the entire area would be monitored via closed-circuit television cameras.
The CM directed Karachi Additional IG Mushtaq Maher to work together with the KNIP director to develop the one-way traffic plans. Shah added that there is a dire need to manage growing traffic in the city, particularly in Saddar.
“This is the most important project for the restoration of the old city area. Therefore, it must be supported [by everyone] not only by the relevant agencies and government departments. I request each and every Karachiite to support and own it,” the CM said.
Shah also proposed that compound walls of some important beautiful buildings in the old city be replaced by fences so that beautiful facade of such buildings could be enjoyed by every passer-by.
The CM also directed the Karachi commissioner to start removing encroachments from the entire area of the project’s component-I so that it could be started within a month. He also directed the KNIP director to begin inviting tenders for the reconstruction work within two weeks.
Components II and III include automation of construction permits by the Sindh Building Control Authority, an integrated financial management system for the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and design and implementation of the Sindh Provincial Electronic On-Stop Shop, along with other projects .