KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Saturday Rs162 billion development package for the port city to help improve the transport and other civic facilities in the metropolis.
"A special package has been prepared in collaboration with private-public partnerships," said the prime minister after presiding over a meeting of the Karachi Transformation Committee at Governor's House.
The prime minister declared that the proposed package would include 18 projects including 10 schemes relating to improvement in transportation facilities and road infrastructures. The remaining schemes would take care of water and sanitation facilities.
While addressing the participants of the meeting, the prime minister said, "The funds for Karachi Package will be generated under public private partnership".
Though the premier did not share the details of the projects, but sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune that these included the widening of Northern Bypass making it "dual carriage" to facilitate movement of heavy vehicular traffic from Karachi Port to the M-9 Motorway and Green Line Bus project. "The additional 500 buses will operate on different route across the city under public private partnership and well reputable bus operators will be given the chance for it," one of the members of the Karachi Transformation Committee said.
He said that it was also decided to improve the Lyari Expressway project under Karachi Package and to allow heavy traffic on it. "Currently heavy traffic is not allowed on it. After its improvement, it will be opened for heavy traffic as well," sources said adding that a project about port traffic linking KPT to Port Qasim through railways is also part of the Karachi Package.
Regarding the water and sanitation schemes under the package, the officials privy to the development said that Karachi bulk water supply scheme known as K-IV with the partnership of Sindh government, and installation of River Osmosis (RO plants) have also been included in the package.
"A state-of-art water institute will be established for research on supply, conversation and management of water in the city," sources said adding that the prime minister also decided to launch a massive water conservation campaign in the city. Imran Khan is reported to have told the meeting, "It is unusual that our country has not had any campaign to conserve water in the past. I will run the campaign myself". He regretted that there are no green areas in the port city.
The prime minister also gave approval to develop a master plan for Karachi. "There is no planning for Karachi, which is the largest city and economic hub of Pakistan. The Karachi master plan will address the issue of the unplanned expansion of the city which has led to a lack of civic services in the city and has created issues of policing and governance," the prime minister is reported to have told the participants of the meeting.
Stressing on the importance of the master plan for the city, PM Imran said that there is a need to develop an interim plan in the meantime. "All buildings should be allowed to expand vertically in the city getting rid of katchi abadis as being done in Bombay. We want to adopt vertical urbanisation approach," he remarked.
Ehsas, Sehat Insaf Card will be extended to Sindh: PM Imran
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Saleh Faruqi, secretary Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, who is also of the members of Karachi Transformation Committee, said that different schemes of Rs162 billion under Karachi package have been devised and recommended in the meeting. "The relevant departments have been directed to expedite the work and prepare their PC-1 on these projects," he said.
When asked if any decision was taken regarding the Karachi Circular Railway, he said, "This is part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. It has nothing to do with the Karachi Package." He, however, said that most of the schemes under the Karachi Package will be launched with public private partnership and in collaboration with the Sindh government.
While announcing to establish a university in Hyderabad, the prime minister said that its foundation will be laid on April 5.
He also declared that RO plants costing Rs1 billion will be installed in Tharparkar and, "Two modern mobile hospitals and four ambulances will also be provided to Thar".
PM Imran announced that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led federal government will extend its poverty alleviation project, 'Ehsas', and public healthcare initiative, 'Sehat Insaf Card', to Sindh.
Imran Khan meets MOL’s representatives
Bagh ibne Qasim
The prime minister also inaugurated the sprawling Bagh ibne Qasim in Clifton, which has recently been renovated. Imran Khan while planting a sapling said that the government would meet the target of planting 10 billion trees in Pakistan. He asked the relevant authorities to save the parks, build more playground, plant trees and protect forests.
During the visit, the PM was accompanied by Sindh Governor Imran Imail and Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar. He criticised the Sindh government for allotting forest land to influential people and said Pakistan was worst affected when it came to climate change, so drastic measures are needed to tackle this situation.
"The situation will go out of control, if we failed to deal with this issue," he said adding that there was a dire need to protect forest and trees without any delay.