KARACHI TO GET 800 CNG BUSES SOON
A partnership between city government and private sector
Oct 16 - 22, 2006
City Nazim of Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal has said that the metropolis will soon get 800 CNG buses in collaboration with the private sector, which would in fact be the public-private partnership to address the transport problem as well as controlling pollution level in the country's commercial hub.
Currently, you must be witnessing massive construction of roads, bridges, underpasses, flyers all around, he said and added all these projects were not started in a haphazard manner as these developments were coming up on the grounds after devising a well planned strategy to make Karachi one of the most modern town and at par with any mega city of the world.
The young Nazim resolved that things were changing in a fast pace and the day was not far when the people would see Karachi as a new and modern city that would be attracting investment at a massive scale.
"Actually the arrival of international investors is the result of our effort to market Karachi as a potential future business hub in this region. We successfully showcased the strategic economic and business potential of Karachi which is being responded by the international investors who have come with development projects worth billions of dollars in and around Karachi."
Referring to the on going development projects as well as bridges, sub-ways, underpasses, flyers, highways, bypasses and expressways coming up on the ground all over the city, the City Nazim said these developments were the part of a well planned strategy to raise this city, which is the 7th largest city in the globe, at par with any modern city in the world within next two years.
Syed Kamal said with great confidence that what was being raised all over Karachi has not been done in a haphazard way. In fact this massive construction has been carried out in accordance with a well thought out plan and in conformity with the international standards.
These bridges and underpasses would provide a hassle free and non-stop drives right from one end to the other.
Those who are investing billions of dollars know what this city is going to offer to the potential investors in future.
When asked to comment on the recent hardships faced by the people in the wake of heavy monsoon rains, the City Nazim became a little harsh while citing the example of stepmother treatment meted out to this city in the past. The rain drain system, which is a basic need, was never given a priority for the last 59 years. In case if there existed any system for draining out rainstorm water, influential and powerful people occupied that nullah in Clifton area, making common people suffer great hardships.
He said today when the people have forgotten the rain-related issues our teams are working in the troubled areas to make arrangements so that rainwater is not accumulated in future. For this our teams have got vacated the rain nullah in Clifton area which these people had turned into the car parking, lawn or motor garage in total disregard to civic sense. We have taken these powerful encroachers to the task and bringing these rain drains in working order again.
We are sorting out the problems wherever the troubled spots had been identified after the rain. He cited the example of Bath Island where the people closed down the rain drain to expand their porch or car parking. They even developed basketball courts on this mullah.
We have already awarded tenders for developing a comprehensive rain drain system in Bath Island and other parts of Clifton where development work will start soon, and hopefully the people would not suffer such rain related problems again in future.
To address the gigantic transport issue in this city of 20 million people, "we would have to go for multiple options to provide swift, respectable and comfortable mode of traveling to the commuters". In fact what has been done in the last 8 months is unparalleled to what had been done in 59 years, he claimed. We don't believe in self- projection, otherwise headlines and pictures should be appearing in the media if we go to play with the gallery. The Prime Minister has attended six meetings regarding mass transit program which indicates that the federal government had never involved in this issue at such a high level, he observed.
He was asked about the flow of foreign investment in Pakistan in general and in Karachi in particular, with reference to the investors arriving from Middle East and engaging in huge development projects in real estate, particularly the construction of island cities.
The Nazim replied with a sense of achievement that whosoever is coming to Karachi is basically the outcome of our efforts and endeavors for doing aggressive marketing around the world.
It is for the first time that we have marketed our scheme within and outside the country. In fact we have marketed Karachi and now we are getting a positive feedback from all over the world. As a result of our efforts, investors from all over the world are taking Karachi as the potential hub of business activity.
These investors would not come here unless they are assured of a good infrastructure.
You are looking at the massive infrastructure coming up in a planned manner right from sewerage, drainage, roads, flyovers all over Karachi. This massive infrastructure is coming up in a well planned manner.
These projects were not designed in a haphazard manner but after putting lot of efforts and keeping in view the requirement of the international investors. All these bridges, underpasses, flyers and roads are linked together and supplementing each other to give an international traffic system when they are put into operation. The investors are now coming here only because of such impressive planning as they are looking at Karachi as the potential future city.
When asked how long it will take to complete the on-going development schemes in Karachi, he responded in a very diplomatic way with the remarks that whatever is coming up is the part of progress which is a continuous process because the process of progress never comes to a halt. Hence it is very difficult to give a cut off date. When these on-going projects would be completed, new ones would be started hence development process would continue to go on, he assured.
Karachi is not an ordinary city; it is the seventh largest city of the world and the biggest city of the country and the region. It has the economic potential to generate maximum revenue for the country; the growth of the city would assure more earning which means prosperity to the whole nation. He lamented that nothing serious was done for the development of Karachi during the last six decades. Had we put some time and efforts for the development of the city in the past, the situation would have been quite different from what it is today. He, however, gave good news that it will hardly take two more years when Karachi will come at par with any modern city of the world.
Apart from Sharea Faisal, two more roads are being developed which would be leading to Karachi airport. One of these two roads is originating from Sohrab Goth through Malir cantt and the other through Northern Bypass which crosses through the Toll Plaza. Besides these two new accesses to airport, the Layari Expressway when completed would also provide an access to Karachi airport.
In order to overcome water shortage, the present government is actively considering the option of desalination of seawater and every week we meet and discuss this problem. Actually, desalination is very expensive and the people would like to pay much for water charges. However, the cost of desalination is gradually coming down with the improvement in the technology and we hope that as soon as we are able to bring the price of desalination at an affordable level, we would definitely go for that option as it is a part of our strategic plan, he assured.
We have a plan to bring 800 CNG buses, to be called green buses, which would be run through private-public partnership. We are trying to induct at least 100 buses soon as a pilot project. That would be a big change in the transport. On the question of restrictions on auto rickshaws, he said that ban on registration of new rickshaw has already been placed; yet it would take time to change the entire system. We cannot eliminate auto rickshaws in one go unless we have alternatives in hand to replace the system. So far we have no any alternatives to auto rickshaws, however, we have a plan to reduce air and noise pollution as much as possible.
With the arrival of alternatives, outdated vehicles would automatically phase out. You know that without having alternatives you cannot do the things as desired. For example see the court had ordered to remove all smoke-emitting buses from the road, but those orders are not implemented because we do not have the alternatives to replace the smoke-emitting buses. Similarly, with the arrival of alternatives, we would gradually remove two-stroke rickshaws from Karachi roads. Today people are traveling even on rooftops of these smoke-emitting buses.
If you remove these buses all of a sudden then how the people would commute.
It is quite easy to pass orders but these orders should be in accordance with the ground realities or else the things wouldn't be managed.