Karachi again gets focus but…


INTENTIONS expressed and plans announced on numerous occasions notwithstanding, problems of Karachi remain there as usual adding to the sufferings of the Karachiites, who are also facing the worst spread of Covid-19. In this backdrop, a high level meeting convened by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday and attended by all stakeholders except Sindh, comes as a ray of hope as it reviewed the progress on more than 100 projects that have been planned under the Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP), and which are to be completed in three phases at the cost of Rs1.117 trillion.
The Prime Minister has rightly emphasized the need for timely completion of the projects as implementation is a major concern as has been witnessed in the case of repeated campaigns launched by Federal and Provincial governments to clean the city and clear encroachments that have cropped up all over the mega city. The situation has deteriorated so much that even elite societies, planned and executed meticulously, present scenes of ponds all around during rains and some powerful people are resisting drives to eliminate encroachments. Unfortunately, the situation has not improved despite repeated notices issued by the highest court of the land and its support for permanent resolution of the problems of Karachi. The court issued a number of warnings and deadlines to the provincial government and the Railway Ministry to revive Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and had to issue a contempt notice to the Chief Minister on Thursday for failure of the provincial government to approve design of the developmental work of the project. It seems there is utter lack of coordination among the provincial government, Pakistan Railways and the Frontier Works Organizations (FWO) and as a result there is only lip service to implementation of the project. Same is true of other projects and programmes that, otherwise, have the potential to provide relief and help resolve chronic problems of people of Karachi but progress has been marred due to internal bickering and political point-scoring. The direction of the Prime Minister for finding a permanent solution to the problems of the city is right but how can this be done without active involvement of the provincial government, which had no representation at the high level meeting. One fails to understand how encroachments can be removed and affected people accommodated elsewhere without cooperation of Sindh/local governments. Similarly, we have been hearing since long about additional supply of water to Karachi under K-4 project but still we are at the stage of appointing a Technical Committee to make recommendations for enhancing the capacity and utility of the plan. Availability of resources would lose its substance if modus operandi for implementation of programmes and projects is not workable.

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