Lyari Expressway: Where there’s no will, hence no way

Published: May 16, 2016
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A section of the Lyari Expressway near Civic Centre and Essa Nagri. PHOTO: AYSHA SALEEM/EXPRESS

A section of the Lyari Expressway near Civic Centre and Essa Nagri. PHOTO: AYSHA SALEEM/EXPRESS

KARACHI: It was in 2002 when the government promised a wide, uninterrupted Lyari Expressway to lead drivers from Sohrab Goth to Mauripur and back. It is nearly 14 years later and this dream has yet to turn into reality.

Encroachments on mere 1.6 kilometres (km) of the 16.5km stretch are preventing authorities from completing the project and easing the city’s traffic flow.

Civic responsibility: SHC orders removal of encroachment from Lyari riverbed

In February this year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit and promised to start the remaining work on the Lyari Expressway within 15 days. Unsurprisingly, this has yet to happen.

Before the PM, the Sindh government constituted a committee in September 2015 under the supervision of the then commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui to remove the encroachments along the route. Unsurprisingly, these half-hearted efforts have yielded no results.

Bone of contention

Lyari Expressway is the third mega transportation project introduced in Karachi, after the revival of Karachi Circular Railway and the Bus Rapid Transit system. The southbound part of the expressway, which stretches from Sohrab Goth to Mauripur Road, has been completed and is in use for traffic since 2010.

The northbound track, which starts at Mauripur and goes all the way to Sohrab Goth, is still incomplete. The patch from Mauripur to Sir Shah Suleman Road, which is around 6km, needs construction while the remaining portion has been built. Within the incomplete portion, there is a mere 1.6km where the Sindh government has yet to clear encroachments. According to the National Highway Authority (NHA), which is constructing the road, they are awaiting the right of way from the Sindh government before they can go ahead with the construction. An NHA official, who requested to remain anonymous, said a total of 5.3km along the Lyari Expressway were encroached which is why they decided to make the road elevated.

Nankana encroachments: Operation against encroachers abandoned

For his part, NHA Sindh general manager Abdul Rauf told The Express Tribune that construction work was started last month. He accepted that the work pace was very slow due to encroachments in the area. “The Sindh government has yet to clear the encroachments and relocate the settlements,” he said.

Meanwhile, project director Munir Ahmed Memon refused to comment as he was transferred the very day that The Express Tribune approached him. So far, Lyari Expressway has had eight project directors.

Lacking the will

Officials blame the Sindh government for the fact that such a small portion of the road is preventing a mega project from unfolding. The federal government has released the funds but it is because of sheer laziness on the part of the Sindh government that the project is stuck in limbo, said a former deputy commissioner of District Central, who had successfully rehabilitated a large portion of Lyari River for the expressway’s construction.

On the condition of anonymity, the officer told The Express Tribune that the encroachment cases landed in court but were never properly taken up by the Sindh government. “The project only needs strong will,” he said, adding that the Sindh government lacks the motivation as it’s not on their agenda.

Sufyan Yousuf of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, who is also the chairperson of the National Assembly’s standing committee on communication, felt the encroachment issue is not too big. If the NHA starts working, the area can be cleared easily, he said. The deputy commissioners of District Central have already helped clear nearly 1.5km of the encroachments but NHA delayed its constructions and the illegal settlements grew again, he claimed.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2016.

 

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Mirza Asif Baig
    May 16, 2016 - 10:06AM

    This Project is necessary improve internal trade of the country. Recommend

  • THE
    May 16, 2016 - 10:48AM

    Whenever I visit Karachi and travel from Shorab Goth to Garden or further on this expressway, I feel like I am in a different world ! It’s one of the best roadwork project in Karachi in my life time… FOR GOD SAKE Sindh Govt finish it !
    Otherwise, just commit mass suicide…. if you have any shame !Recommend

  • Rudra Singh (TriAdz Inc.)
    May 16, 2016 - 11:42AM

    The Sindh Govt. would never get this job done as for them these areas have not voted in their favour therefore why do anything for them, and as a matter of fact they won’t let others also work.
    As they say democracy is the best revenge (from the people)!!

    CEO
    TriAdz Inc.
    KarachiRecommend

  • SK
    May 16, 2016 - 12:06PM

    PPP only talks revenge and continuous one when it comes to KHI as it knows it would never get vote from KHI so every time its in power it makes sure that KHI citizens suffer to their core- they get full support from Punjab based PML-N which wants to see KHI on its knees in order to see continuous development in Lahore/PunjabRecommend

  • Xak
    May 16, 2016 - 12:09PM

    This is an extremely important project for Karachi. And the kind apathy shown by all parties, including MQM, Governments and agencies, is appalling. This project really affects the lives of common man, because as a citizen of Karachi, I have experienced its affects. It shaves a lot of traffic congestion off the main arteries of the road, is an excellent connection between colonies outside Karachi and has the potential to be upgraded in to a monorail too. Given the space available on each of the tracks’ sides, and the arteries it bisects, this project has all the potential to become a mass transit heart of the city. I guess to reap its full benefits we will have to call on paramilitary, civil agencies are just neither capable nor willing.Recommend

  • Xak
    May 16, 2016 - 12:09PM

    This is an extremely important project for Karachi. And the kind apathy shown by all parties, including MQM, Governments and agencies, is appalling. This project really affects the lives of common man, because as a citizen of Karachi, I have experienced its affects. It shaves a lot of traffic congestion off the main arteries of the road, is an excellent connection between colonies outside Karachi and has the potential to be upgraded in to a monorail too. Given the space available on each of the tracks’ sides, and the arteries it bisects, this project has all the potential to become a mass transit heart of the city. I guess to reap its full benefits we will have to call on paramilitary, civil agencies are just neither capable nor willing.Recommend

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