Master plan crucial for Karachi, says Naimatullah
By Shahid Husain
KARACHI: City nazim Naimatullah Khan said on Thursday that he had conveyed to President Pervez Musharraf that a master plan for Karachi had become more necessary for the smooth progress of the city.
Speaking at a seminar on “Two Years of the City Government” under the auspices of the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), he said due to the absence of a master plan, progress of the city had become unregulated.
Zegham Jafri, the EDO for the master plan told Daily Times on Thursday that data were being collected to prepare the Karachi Master Plan up to 2025. He said preparatory work in this regard had begun and with the devolution process, the master plan’s pace of work would increase. He said recommendations were being made for the plan, of which mega-projects like the Lyari Expressway were a part. He said previously two master plans were made for Karachi with the help of the United Nations but had become redundant.
The city nazim told the seminar the city government alone was not the custodian of Karachi and there were organizations like the Karachi Port Trust, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steel Mills, the Port Qasim Authority, which equally responsible for the city. He said the city’s infrastructure was being used by these organizations but they failed to cooperate. He said the ministry of works was dictating Karachi from Islamabad.
He claimed that during the last two years the city government had made great strides, which was evident from the fact that whereas 650 people in Lyari were swept away during the rains in 1977, such casualties did not occur in the recent rains. However, he did acknowledge there were deaths due to electrocution. He said the city government had started a cleanliness campaign in the city and regretted that storm water drains were being used for throwing sewage.
“We are suffering due to the follies of the past but what we have achieved in two years has no match,” he claimed. Mir Hussain Ali, divisional coordination officer (DCO), said there has been experimentation about local bodies since 1958, but this time endeavours have been made to translate the idea into a reality at the grassroots level. “It’s an all-embracing system,” he remarked, adding, “The federal government is fully committed to it.”
He said unlike Karachi, the local bodies system was suffering from “financial impotence” in interior Sindh. They depend on the funds of provincial government, he said. He said small towns were short of funds and expertise, hence execution of projects there was sub-standard.
He said Karachi was suffering from serious problems in the realm of transport, health, sewerage and water. He said there was more concentration on development projects and not on 15 sub-groups, which have been made.
Aurangzeb Khan, the nazim of Baldia Town, complained that police was not cooperating with the city government. He said towns covering “katchi abadis” have been given limited funds as compared to other areas.
Saeed Ghani, nazim of the Chanesar Goth union council, said there had been 76 amendments in the Local Bodies Act during the last two years. He said the system was good but extremely complicated. As a result, 90 percent of the nazims were confused about the checks and balances inherent in it. He regretted that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, the Katchi Abadis Authority and the Karachi Development Authority had not been devolved until now.