KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday announced a Rs162 billion project for the development of the country’s economic and industrial hub Karachi.
Addressing a gathering during his two-visit to the city, the premier said, “We are allocating a Rs162 billion package for Karachi under which 18 projects will be worked on.”
“The country cannot move forward till Karachi is developed. The whole country suffered because Karachi’s development was halted,” he said. Criticising the Sindh government, the premier said, “It was their responsibility to fix the situation in Karachi but after they emerged successful in interior Sindh, we all saw how they treated Karachi.”
Stating that Karachi faces a major transport issue, the premier said, “Of the 18 projects, 10 will pertain to public transport while seven will be water projects.”
“We are all aware of the issues regarding safe drinking water projects. We will have to start a water conversation campaign in the city,” he added and said that a campaign to conserve water was never launched in the country.
PM Imran lamented, “When you look at Karachi it looks like a concrete slab. We will make green areas here.”
Upholding that Karachi is “expanding”, the premier said, “There is a need to stop the city from further expanding. It becomes difficult to provide water and sewerage facilities to such an expanding city and that it is why it necessary to make a master plan for Karachi soon.”
“We will have to make decisions that Karachi does not expand beyond a specific area. Till a master plan is not complete, we will have to make interim decisions. We will have to stop many things in the city and if we don’t then the city will expand exponentially,” he added.
Further noting that Karachi has the most slums, the prime minister said, “We will have to curtail the city and develop the slums.”
Sharing the decision to build high-rise buildings in the port city, the premier said, “We have asked the Civil Aviation Authority to identify the areas surrounding the airport where high-rise buildings cannot be built other than that buildings should be built everywhere.”
“It is necessary that the plan of action drafted for Karachi enters the implementation phase. I have told the Sindh governor that we are here for any help that is needed,” he added.
PM Imran also announced that a university will be built in Hyderabad and will be overseen by the federal government.
Master Plan for Karachi
Earlier, sources said that PM Imran has announced the decision to set up a new master plan for the port city and named it ‘Karachi Master Plan 2047’.
According to sources present at a meeting that PM Imran attended, the newly-set-up Karachi Transformation Committee present the Karachi Package to Khan.
The premier acknowledged that he had an idea that Karachi faces numerous issues. The government will resolve people’s mega problems, he said, adding that he has formed a committee for the issues to be solved soon.
A decision was also made to release Rs8 billion to resume the Green Line buses, the sources added. Further, Khan announced to hike the Karachi Development Package to Rs102 billion and accepted the suggestions to set up District West and a Korangi University.
It was also decided during the meeting that the Lyari Expressway would be opened for heavy traffic, sources informed, and that a special fund — worth Rs2 billion — would be released to improve the traffic in Karachi.
In addition, it was agreed that help would be sought from the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) with regard to the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).
With regard to power, there is a plan to set up 200 solar reverse osmosis (RO) plants for six districts in Karachi, the sources explained. Another project to set up a 5-million-gallons-per-day (MGD) water RO plant in District West was also agreed upon.
The federal government will also set up a water management department at the NED University of Engineering and Technology. On the other hand, a treatment plant will be installed to make the water in Korangi usable for the residents of the area.
The government will further pay 50 percent of the new forecasted expenditure of the K-IV water project, sources said.
With regard to the transporters in the metropolis, a decision was made to introduce a new scheme, which would allow easy bank loans, the sources informed, adding that 500 transporters will be given loans for 500 news buses.
The loan term for transporters will be six years and the federal government has taken the responsibility to pay the interest in this regard, the sources noted.
Separately, the PM advised members of the national and provincial assemblies that they are obligated to attend calls and that Sindh Governor Imran Ismail should not abandon the MPAs.
They should also attend the Ghotki gathering today (Saturday), sources quoted Khan as saying.