People suffer amid construction of two development projects

Published: April 18, 2016
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Simultaneous work on Green Line BRT flyover and Golimar Underpass causing severe traffic jams . PHOTO: AYSHA SALEEM/EXPRESS

Simultaneous work on Green Line BRT flyover and Golimar Underpass causing severe traffic jams . PHOTO: AYSHA SALEEM/EXPRESS

KARACHI: 

Lack of coordination and bureaucratic red tape has brought business and traffic to a standstill at Golimar Chowrangi, due to the construction of two separate projects – the Golimar Underpass and Green Line BRT flyover – simultaneously at the intersection.

Work on the Nazimabad Underpass at Golimar Chowrangi kicked off in April last year. Initially, a flyover was to be constructed at Golimar Chowrangi instead of an underpass. At the eleventh hour, all the plans were changed and the flyover was converted into an underpass to facilitate the Green Line BRT flyover, which is also supposed to pass over Golimar Chowrangi.

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Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) then project director for the underpass, Shafiqur Rehman, had told The Express Tribune that because of the Green Line, which is being funded and constructed by the federal government, KMC had to change the nature of their project. In the span of one year, the underpass has seen three project directors. Initially, KMC’s chief engineer, Asadullah Shah, was looking after the project and then Rehman was made project director when Shah was given the charge of KMC’s director-general of parks.

After that, Noorullah Shaikh was made the project director in December and now Rehman has once again been given the charge.

When the construction work started in April, the Sindh government had released one instalment of the funds with which the KMC officials were able to complete 40% of the work on the project, even though its nature was changed mid-way.

The change in the nature of the project has brought down the construction cost from Rs353 million to Rs345 million. The modified PC-1 for the project has yet to be approved by the Sindh government, said Rehman on Monday, adding that until then they cannot do anything.

Businesses suffer

The city’s largest sanitary and hardware market, which is located at Golimar, has been suffering the most. Gulbahar Traders Association’s former president Muhammad Amin Lasania told The Express Tribune that their business had completely collapsed due to the construction work.

Apart from the incomplete Golimar Underpass, construction work of the Green Line BRT’s flyover has added to their misery, he said. “There isn’t any way to reach the market,” he said, adding that customers have to park their vehicles far away and walk amid huge machinery and dust. “Who would want to visit a market in such a situation?”

The owner of alSaboor workshop near Golimar, Salman Samad, said that due to the complete closure of Golimar Chowrangi and severe traffic jams, customers have stopped coming to his workshop. “The underpass should have at least been completed before starting work on the flyover.”

Green Line ongoing

While work on the underpass has been completely suspended, the Green Line BRT’s flyover work is going on day in and day out. Pervaiz Ghani, the chief engineer of Karachi Infrastructure and Development Company Limited – the company responsible for constructing the Green Line BRT – said that they have nothing to do with the underpass.

The alignment of the flyover that KIDCL is constructing, he said, is far away from that of the underpass. Meanwhile, Tanveer Ahmed Khan of EA Consultants Pvt Limited, which has designed Green Line’s route, said that they needed maximum width for the pile cap, which will be completed in three months.  After that, he said that the road can easily be used by the public.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th,  2016.

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