I.I CHUNDRIGAR ROAD, THE BUSIEST ROAD OF KARACHI

I.I. Chundrigar Road would be constructed in two phases keeping in view its importance and possible difficulties to the citizens

KHALIL AHMED, Senior Correspondent
Apr 09 - 15, 2007

The government is supposed to provide communication facilities to its people as one of its prime civic responsibilities in any Society. Road is one of the most important ingredients for the progress of a country. It is a fact that transport is an economic activity. Its efficiency and cost of use has a direct bearing on the health of an economy. Pakistan's economy has been doing tremendous job and such progress can easily be sustained incase more importance is given to communication facilities which are a kind of backbone to any economy. The construction of financial districts such as the I.I Chundrigar Road is sine qua non in this regard.

There are a few critics who believe that the I.I. Chundrigar Road is being converted into an elitist road, which will gradually only have private vehicles. It is essential at this juncture to address the problems like this if prevailing and a common citizen must be made aware through print and electronic media about the significance of such developments. In February last year, the City Nazim had said that after one and a half month, development work on the I.I. Chundrigar Road would commence at a cost of Rs220 million. Owing to that, the road would be completely closed for traffic, which could last for a year. He had claimed that after completion, the road would be ideal for vehicular traffic and pedestrians.

The news about the up-gradation, renovation and beautification work of the I.I Chundrigar Road are in for last few years however the work has been expedited for last year or so. Almost everyone has got lots of expectations from this most important thoroughfare of Karachi. The construction work on the road has been termed by various people in various ways; some have called it the mega-project whereas others have termed it as a master plan for Karachi. There are a few who think this would be a model road for the entire country. Undoubtedly, the I.I Chundrigar Road is the busiest road of Karachi and is considered the financial district of the city as it has become home to the high rise headquarters of major corporations. The I. I. Chundrigar Road is undisputed business hub of Karachi.

It was declared last month by the concerned authorities that I.I. Chundrigar Road would be constructed in two phases keeping in view its importance and possible difficulties to the citizens and it was emphasized that the authorities would not tolerate any delay in the construction work. The mega project worth over Rs200 million seems to be completing within the given framework of the time because of the keen interest exerted by the pertinent authorities, a good sign for the economic activities in the city. Last year in February it was declared that the upgradation and beautification of I.I. Chundrigar Road would be completed before the end of June 2007 at a cost of Rs 200 million. It was also disclosed that Rs 162 million had been deposited for the project by all stockholders financial institutions operating in this area and the remaining amount around Rs 38 million would be borne by the City District Government of Karachi.

HISTORIC FACTS

Historic facts reveal that the beautification of I.I. Chundrigar Road was originally planned around two decades ago. In the beginning of 2004, the then Karachi Nazim had decided to beautify I. I. Chundrigar Road with the help of financial institutions and in 2005 various proposals in this regard were reviewed. And last year in February the city government had declared I.I. Chundrigar Road a bus-free zone owing to the construction work. At present, the beautification work of I.I. Chundrigar Road is in full swing and commuters and the pedestrians are facing problems however these problems are short-run and would benefit the citizens of the city in the days ahead. At present, for instance, incase one has to visit UBL Head office or Standard Chartered Bank on I.I. Chundrigar Road, one will have to abandon one's vehicle for time being and walk a long way through difficult passages. Parking problems were prevalent earlier but due to the construction work, such problems have aggravated. It is expected that because of the construction of parking plazas, the citizens will find it quite convenient to park their respective vehicles in secured areas with convenience. Due to the uplift plans initiated under the Tameer-i-Karachi Programme, around a year ago work on over a dozen of development projects mostly related to road construction caused lots of problems for the residents of various localities and it caused traffic congestion. However, at present those who criticized every step taken by the concerned authorities are praising the completion with excellence. During the construction phase, undoubtedly lots of citizens will have to face problems as by and large, most of Pakistan's public and private banks have their head offices located on I.I Chundrigar Road. It is also to be noted that most of the financial and trade institutions are located on and around this most important artery. Those who have to go to the City Railway Station, newspaper offices, GPO, Telegraph Office, CCPO office, HBL plaza, State Bank of Pakistan, Shaheen Complex etc may at times face acute problems and this situation may lead to terrible traffic congestions but again these problems will be forgotten forever keeping the long run benefits of the thoroughfare in mind. Recently while visiting the I.I Chundrigar Road, the City Nazim directed the officials concerned to install traffic signs and boards of alternate routes for the guidance of commuters. One must keep in mind that during the construction period, the problems faced are the problems worth endured. It must be noticed that the uplift programs have geared up particularly over the period of last four to five years. President Musharraf approved hefty grants for the CDGK which has brought very good results in terms of providing convenience along with the neat and clean environment.

COMMUNICATION

Citizens pay tax and deserve proper communication facilities. It is believed that vehicle owners pay a certain tax per litre of fuel purchased. Incase the concerned authorities think and implement mega projects as have been witnessed in Karachi, it would add value to the convenience and help the economy grow farther due to increased economic activities because of the ease provided. It could be concluded that development work on the I.I. Chundrigar Road should have been commenced at least a decade ago. However, better late than never.

ROAD KILOMETRES BY TYPE IN SINDH, 1994-2004
(In Kilometres)

YEAR

Total

HIGH
Type

LOW
Type

1994-95

23,348

17,919

5,429

1995-96

24,217

19,025

5,192

1996-97

24,596

19,781

4,815

1997-98

24,794

20,186

4,608

1998-99

24,843

20,610

4,233

1999-2000

25,015

20,964

4,051

2000-2001

25,571

21,785

3,786

2001-2002

7,576

7,107

469

2002-2003

7,633

7,372

261

2003-2004

7,673

7,401

272

High type road the road having cement concrete or bituminous concrete surface

Low type road the road generally made of stone, bricks, gravel or ordinary earth properly aligned and with drainage structure provided.

Sources: High Ways, Communication & Works Department, Government of Sindh (Report) Development Statistics of Sindh

EXISTING HIGHWAY NETWORK OF PAKISTAN (2006)

No.

Route

(KM)

N-5

Karachi-Thatta-Hyderabad-Moro-Multan-Sahiwal-
Lahore-Jhelum-Rawalpinid-Peshawar-Torkham

1819

N-10

Lyari-Gwadar-Gabd (Makran Coastal Highway)

653

N-15

Mansehra-Naran-Jhalkhand

240

N-25

Karachi-Bela-Khuzdar-Kalat-Quetta-Chaman (RCD Highway)

813

N-35

Hasanabdal-Abbottabad-Thakot-Gilgit-Khunjerab (Karakoram Highway, KKH)

806

N-40

Lakpass-Nokundi-Taftan

610

N-45

Nowhera-dir-Chitral

309

N-50

Kuchlac-Zhob-Dl Khan

531

N-55

Kotri-Shikarpur-DG Khan-Kohat-Peshawar (Indus Highway)

1264

N-65

Sukkur-Sibi-Saryab

385

N-70

Qilasaifullah-Loralai-DG Khan-Multan

447

N-75

Islamabad-Satra Mile-Lower Topa (Murree)- Kohala

90

M-1

Peshawar-Islamabad

155

M-2

Islamabad-Pinidi Bhattian-Lahore

367

M-3

Pinidi Bhattian - Faisalabad

53

M-9

Karachi-Hyderabad

136

S-1

Jaglot (KKH)- Shangrial-Karachi-Skardu

167

Total:-

 

8845

N- National Highway M - Motorway S- Strategic Road
Sources: National Highway Authority 2006
http://www.pakboi.gov.pk/BFacts/roads.html