An interview with chief controller, KBCA

Apr 28 - May 04, 2003

The planned development of the real estate, and an active construction industry are the strong economic indicators of growth. Although the two sectors have started showing gradual improvement in Karachi, yet effective and concerted efforts are needed to overcome the resource constraints responsible for hampering pace of development.

This was stated by Brig. (Retd) A.S. Nasir, Chief Controller, Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) in an exclusive interview with PAGE.

Elaborating his point of view, the KBCA Chief observed that besides the lack of close co-ordination among different organisations and agencies responsible for development of the town, Karachi is confronted with at least 50 per cent shortfall in water supply and a deficit of about 25 per cent supply of electricity. As far as the role of the builders in the development of the city was concerned most of them have played a positive role because they are the stakeholders and have to protect their business interest.

KBCA on its part making all out efforts to deliver the goods on all fronts to the satisfaction of the public, development agencies, builders and its own staff. A move has also been made by KBCA for regularisation of schools, clinics and other commercial ventures on small plots by offering them 60-75 per cent reduction in fees. This would help generating funds for the KBCA at a massive scale.

Brig. Nasir having a blend of unique qualities is discharging his responsibilities with a passion to achieve the desired results.

Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.

Before meeting Brig. Nasir, I had an image about him as a retired army official that strictly moves on set pattern rules.

However, I found him totally a different man having a smile on his face which encouraging the person to express his point of view easily. I was really surprise to know that he comes to his office right at 7 O'clock, perhaps the only office which starts working even before the people take their breakfast. During the course of interview I found him a softhearted man for the cause that lacks assistance and simultaneously strong against the wrong that needs resistance.

Besides discharging his official duties at KBCA, he also devotes his time and energy as the provincial chief of the poverty alleviation program launched by the federal government. He has a dream to combat the ills of poverty but in a different way. His impressive outlook is a part of his virtue.

He feels that the poverty-ridden people in the remote parts of the country really deserve the benefits of the poverty reduction program. To make his dream a reality, Brig. Nasir chose an abandoned area now called Baloch Khushal Goth in Thatta District where life was difficult in the absence of water. Under the program a windmill was installed which proved a pleasant surprise for the habitants when that huge windmill started pumping out water from 125 feet deep well. Baloch Khushal Goth is a success story and gives a sense of achievement to the people working behind this project led by Brig. Nasir.

This project includes resurfacing of one-mile road from National Highway to the village by district government. Generation of water by a newly installed windmill, solar energy for electrification, plantation of 1500 trees by conservator of forests, irrigation of 50 acres of barren land, development of a hospital by Baqai Medical University, a 5-room school for local children and an industrial home for the girls.

Brig. Nasir says that the massive responsibility is to be carried out through institutions of higher learning into its manifestation in practical field.

In this respect, each of the institutions should invest its professional expertise into far flung villages, for spread of quality education, superior health care, cultivation of barren land through generation of water and energy, helping to develop self-employment through cottage industry or whatever you can, best do to pull out the poor out of deprivation, ignorance and poverty.

There are thousands of spots where the people have to go miles and miles in search of water. Model villages on such spots can be developed on the pattern of Baloch Goth by installing windmills for getting out the water beneath the earth because the first and prime need for progress of human society is the drinking water. That source of water can be used for cultivation, the foundation of any civilisation.

The task of poverty alleviation is challenging and its success likely to be determined by the extent to which it reaches out to the stakeholders. It was the realisation that this task required a synergetic effort involving the government, civil society organisations, the corporate sector and the international donor communities.

Amid our highest civilisation men faint and die with want is not due to the niggardliness of nature, but to the injustice of man.