The residents of Karachi are ready to fly over Karachi with the inauguration of Bahria Town’s new infrastructure on Friday.
The new flyover and an underpass on AT Naqvi Chowrangi and two underpasses at Jahangir Kothari Parade promise to reduce traffic congestion in the area. There are two walk-through tunnels for pedestrians as well. The Rs1.8 billion project is a gift to the ‘citizens of Karachi’ from real estate businessman, Malik Riaz of Bahria Town.
Initially the plan was to develop two underpasses but the civil engineers who studied the area suggested making three instead, explained Riaz at the inauguration ceremony on Friday.
The network of flyover and underpasses, spread over nearly two kilometres, will connect Bilawal Chowrangi and its surroundings to Do Talwar, and AT Naqvi roundabout to Sea View. In addition, those travelling from Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine, 26th Street and Sea View will be able to make it to Do Talwar in less time than they usually did.
The flyovers and underpasses have been lined with LED lights, attached to short white poles. On the underpass entrance near Park Towers, old-fashioned street lamps have also been installed. A proposal has been sent to the government to make sure the project stays secure, said Bahria Town CEO Zain Malik.
“We have offered to guard the entire project for the next 30 years entirely on our own,” he told The Express Tribune, adding that they have appointed 50 guards and installed CCTV cameras to watch over the infrastructure if the government agrees to the plan.
Preservation of temple
For the hue and cry that arose on the consequential damage on the Sri Ratneshwar Mahadev Temple in the vicinity, the solution came with silent blaster. “It is a liquid chemical that is drilled in the ground, which then expands and causes cracks at one-metre distances from the source,” explained project manager Sajid Usmani. “Not only were the vibrations significantly reduced in the cave-like nature of the temple but we also constructed a boundary wall to make it more secure.”
Usmani said that Rs100 million worth of silent blaster was imported from Canada to reduce the vibrations extending towards the temple.
Labour of love
Ghulam Jilani, 70, has been working tirelessly as a carpenter for the last four years to make flyover and the Bahria Icon Tower possible. “It is a very delightful day for me to see all the construction completed before my eyes,” he said. “I have worked extensively on the wooden structures of the tower designed by the authorities.”
Meanwhile, the residents are sceptical. “It’s a good effort but we all know that it won’t last long,” said Nadir Ahmed Khan, who lives near Teen Talwar. “Once the flyovers and underpasses are inaugurated then the picture will be clearer,” he said.
Vegetable vendor Qais Khan, who works in the area around Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine, believed in appreciating all kinds of infrastructure development in the city that helps improve the traffic flow.
Some residents are, however, demanding more flyovers and underpasses in the area. “It will help make travelling easy,” said a 70-year-old resident of Clifton.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2015.