The World Bank now has been requested by the City
District Government Karachi (CDGK) to help rebuilding Karachi's
infrastructure, after clear-cut indications from the foreign and local
investors that invitation for investment within existing dilapidated
infrastructure is ridiculous.
World Bank's delegation headed by country manager Mr.
John Wall, with his members Senior Director, Mr. Vingent Conarne, Mr.
Oscar Alvarado, Mr. Graeme Lee, Mr. Zafar Raja and Shehnaz Arshad have
been conducting a detail survey of Karachi's infrastructure since last
one week and expected to remain in Karachi for three more days. City
Nazim Niamatullah Khan has asked the WB's team to help in Mega projects,
as CDGK cannot start any of them within its resources. The President
Geneneral Pervez Musharraf had announced Rs. 29 billion Ta'ameer-e-Karachi
programs but that is only few percent of the required finance.
The World Bank country manager in his first statement
said that "World Bank is meeting all the senior officers of CDGK
and Sindh Government, taking briefing about all the situation including
Mega projects, after understanding the whole system World Bank would
come out with its line of action in this regard." The World Bank,
however, was assured by City Nazim that CDGK would give all the
assistance required by the team.
Only during current more than 20 foreign investors
delegations have visited Karachi and have told that basic hindrance in
investment is 56-year-old infrastructure.
Federal and provincial governments of Pakistan have
been spending huge amount on a campaign of attracting foreign and local
investment in Pakistan but not a single concrete step to rebuild
infrastructure has been taken so far. Now the local government (CDGK)
finally had to invite the World Bank into the matter.
Although CDGK has entered into a preliminary
agreement with a Chinese firm to construct the first corridor of the
Mass Transit Program, but that is only 10% of the total project as five
more corridors are still waiting finance and proper planning.
Power, Water and Roads conditions have gone to its
alarming state, where power is neither good in quality not quantity and
investment requirements are far high than existing situation.
Local investors have put serious allegations on
Federal Government and power company declaring their attitude as
anti-industrial and anti-commercial, Mr. Nisar Shekhani, Chairman SITE
Association in his press conference last week said, that KESC has
successfully forced some of the local industrialists to shift their
industrialist units into other parts of the country while more are
seriously considering to shift. He said that not only power provided to
the local industrialists in smooth way but if any industrialist generate
its own power through own resources, he has to pay 5% tax to the
government, this seems to be a penalty, as this rule is only imposed in
Karachi and rest of the country remains free. He virtually declared KESC
as hindrance creator, as every industrial is getting supplementary bills
after every third month, KESC shifting meters outside the industrial
premises on its own policy and demanding shifting charges from
consumers, not only this but KESC also putting physical responsibility
on consumers. He further said that KESC will take long time to establish
its credibility for industrialists. Local investors and industrialists
are questioning the DCO Karachi's decision according to which his
secretariat has removed SITE as industrial zone and only, Korangi,
Landhi, F. B. Area and North Karachi have been declared as Industrial in
Master plan and SITE the largest and oldest industrial Zone with 400
industrial units, despite all the hindrances its developing vertically.
Industries are buying 95% of water from water tankers
and only five percent water is provided them through KWSB.
The situation of roads within Karachi and other parts
is more ugly, despite the fact that Karachi Sea Port and Port Bin Qasim
handle over US $ 23 billion of international trade both import and
export, but not a single proposed project of highways and bypass have
been seriously completed.
Experts said that Karachi's 56-year-old
infrastructure virtually has to be reconstructed as it provides 67% of
the total to the national exchequer, it also need especial attention as
it has impressive economic statistics. It is amazing that government
have established its bodies in each industrial zone but SITE gives a
depressive look as it too ignoring environmental laws. Only few
companies and industrial units have planted trees within their premises
but entire SITE, Korangi Industrial Area, North Karachi Industrial Zone
gives a virtual ugly look. Many agencies had warned that environmental
situation in industrial zones in Entire Sindh particularly in Karachi is
gradually becoming unhygienic for laborers.
It may be mentioned here that Karachi, which is the
industrial hub of Pakistan, has no Master Pan. Industrial Zones even do
not have residential complexes, hospitals, private transport system, 25
years ago, labour colonies were built in SITE and Landhi but now have
become dilapidated conditions. All industrial zones need residential
complexes of various categories and internal public transport system
Economists and experts have also demanding training
centers for the production of updated World Class technical people but
that matter too remained in cold storage.