Get it done: Commissioner asks authorities to finish Malir flyover projects immediately

Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui not pleased with the excuses given by officials.


Our Correspondent May 15, 2014
The Malir flyovers have been continuously delayed over the past four months due to a multitude of reasons. PHOTO COURTESY: KMC

KARACHI:


Sort it out, demanded Karachi commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui when officials of the city’s civic agencies came to the commissioner office on Tuesday amid complains of slow construction work at the Malir Halt and Malir 15 flyovers.


The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) technical services department had started the construction of the flyovers four months ago but a bazaar at Malir Halt and the choked sewerage lines of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board at Malir 15 have considerably delayed the works, along with other issues.

“The projects started so long ago and you people did not even bother to inform me about the problems that you guys are facing?” he asked the officials.

Siddiqui was told by the officials during the meeting that 30-year-old encroachments were being demolished at Malir 15. The officials added that a 33-inch diameter sewerage line was blocked and that the KMC was laying down the pipeline.

“We are constructing a new sewerage system that will cost us a total of Rs2 million and construction of the Malir 15 bridge will resume once this issue has been resolved,” the KMC technical services director, Niaz Ahmed Soomro, assured the commissioner.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, the project’s executive engineer, Syed Ishrat Rehan, said that the sewerage line was too old and needed to be addressed immediately.

The commissioner then asked the officials about the shifting of K-Electric’s pole-mounted transformers, which were built on the main road and were in the way of the flyover’s construction. Soomro replied that the poles have now been relocated but added that the project was further delayed as construction had to stop during their relocation.

Moreover, the commissioner was informed that construction work at Malir Halt flyover was stopped for three days every week due to the Bachat bazaar in the area. When the commissioner asked who owns the bazaar, the KMC officials failed to provide the commissioner with a satisfactory answer. “I don’t know why the KMC can’t just remove the bazaar,” he said. “You people have permitted the bazaar to continue just to earn Rs2,000? This is an utter mess.”

However, the Malir Halt flyover’s project director, Khalid Masroor, claimed that 40 per cent of the work has already been completed. “The electricity poles have been shifted and, except for the bazaar, there are no other hindrances” he said.

“The project has turned into a nuisance for the residents,” remarked the commissioner, now visibly angry. “I suggest you people go and listen to the people and hear the kind of language they are using for us.”

During the meeting, the commissioner expressed displeasure over the performance of the construction firms and suggested that their licences should be cancelled by the engineering councils. “These companies should prepare a comprehensive study before initiating the projects,” he said. “Unfortunately, they are not professionals and people are facing a lot of difficulties.”

On the condition of anonymity, an official told The Express Tribune that the meeting highlighted all issues that have been faced during the construction, with the exception of the law and order situation in the area.

He claimed that religious and political extremism plagues Malir and the employees are constantly threatened, especially after the encroachment team had demolished the illegal housing. “Most of our employees have been mugged in the area but we are still making progress despite the hostile environment” he said. “The ground realities are totally different than what was discussed in the meeting. We are not living in a developed country as the commissioner seems to be assuming and have to face a multitude of other problems too.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2014.

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