KARACHI: Encroachments and illegal parking have diminished the utility of three major multi-million schemes of Karachi, resulting in immense problems for citizens and earning bad name for civic agencies.
The government had spent billions of rupees to erect new roads and bridges to facilitate citizens but illegal parking and encroachments have marred the value of these schemes, said Mahmood Hamid, the Karachi chapter president of the All Pakistan Organisation of Small Traders and Cottage Industries (APOST&CI).
He said three major schemes – New Preedy Street, Lyari Expressway and Shah Faisal Colony-Korangi Bridge – were well-planned and costly schemes to lessen traffic load on major city arteries. However, due to the negligence of the government departments, the benefits of these schemes are not being enjoyed by the citizens due to rampant encroachments and illegal parking.
He said the scheme of New Preedy Street was meant to lessen traffic load on the main MA Jinnah Road, but massive encroachments at the Saddar junction of New Preedy Street have made this mega scheme virtually ineffective.
He said that thousands of houses were razed to pave the way for this road, costing billions of rupees in the shape of relocation of the affected citizens. “However, after the completion of this mega project, the traffic load has not reduced, as hundreds of encroachers have set up their stalls along the road, while pushcart vendors have blocked the mouth of the New Preedy Street at its Saddar-Empress Market junction,” he said.
He said that instead of saving time of commuters and motorist using this road, this artery was now taking more time to cross due to encroachments and illegal parking.
He said a terminus of Chingchi rickshaws on this very busy road junction had further complicated the traffic jam issue.
Mahmood Hamid said that similarly, the utility of the Lyari Expressway (LEW) had diminished due to massive traffic jams on the Maripur Road. He said it takes minutes to reach from Suhrab Goth and other parts of the LEW to its end at the Maripur Road, but sometimes it takes hours to reach from there to the Main Tower and II Chundrigar area due to massive traffic jams on the Maripur Road, again due to encroachments and illegal parking. He said that like the New Preedy Street, the scheme of LEW was consuming more time of motorists instead of saving it.
He said that same was the case of Shah Faisal Colony-Korangi Bridge, where traffic jams at the Singer Chowrangi of Korangi Industrial Area, and encroachments of Shah Faisal Colony at Shama Cinema and other parts had diminished the utility of this very crucial scheme.
He said that thousands of people use this bridge daily but the encroachments cost them more time and more fuel.
He said that if the government departments were sincere to remove encroachments and end illegal parking only at these three schemes, the overall traffic jam problem of the city could be curtailed by 25 percent.
He said that additional projects, budget and feasibility studies were not needed to make these three crucial Karachi projects fully functional; they only needed the officials of the KMC and traffic police discharging their duties, for which they were getting salaries from the taxpayers’ money.
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