The following series of heavy rains in Karachi in August paralyzed the life of the city, claiming a dozens of lives. The rain caused a complete breakdown of urban life. Poor design and management of roads, drainage, intersections, underground sewers and sidewalks caused unparalleled chaos and damage. Due to the over spilling of drains and the absence of properly directed flow of rain water, streets, transit ways and lanes were rendered unusable.
The devastating rain spell wreaked havoc across Sindh. Even though the provincial government claimed that it took precautionary measures to cope with the situation, it seemed that they were not prepared to deal with the emergency situation. The recent spell of the heavy rains has exposed the performance of the government where streets remained flooded for days because of the poor drainage system.
The mayhem exposed grave shortcomings in planning, development and management of a city that houses over eight per cent of the national population. Many factors contributed to this disappointing scenario. It was unfortunate to see that politicians still played a blame game rather than collaborating and finding solutions in a more efficient manner.
Although the entire situation after the torrential rain in Karachi wasn’t really a revelation as this has occurred multiple times before. However, the onslaught of such a disaster even in the posh areas of Karachi came as a shock to the citizens, wondering why didn’t the officials put preventative measures in action.
Karachi has been labelled “resilient” many times over the years. But as the city descends into worse conditions, its resilience is no longer a compliment but an excuse. No longer can this idea of resilience be used to ignore its exacerbating problems. The negligence on negligence by governments led to a point where it started affecting the economic activity in Karachi. Karachi, the megacity of Pakistan contributes a huge portion to the GDP of Pakistan only to be left in lurch. Despite of the enormous and unparalleled potential within the city, the high economic activity has started to decline pushing the country even backward.
As of the governments and political parties, they only seem to make attractive speeches with dreams made of dust. Now after the deteriorating situations in Karachi following the heavy rains, political solutions yet again seem little too late, and citizens are stepping up to rehabilitate the city themselves. However, PPP announced an 800+ billion development package for Karachi and expected the matching contribution from the federal government for the metropolis.
The alarming situation was then taken under consideration by the Prime Minister Imran Khan when he visited Karachi after the sprawling city was broken by the rain. He met the authorities of Karachi including chief Minister Sindh, Murad Ali Shah, Governer Sindh, Imran Ismail and advisor to CM, Murtaza Wahab and announced an enormous plan for the infrastructure development of the city.
Budget of the Plan:
According to this plan, a budget of Rs. 1,113 billion has been allocated for the construction, development and maintenance of the infrastructure of Karachi which will further distributed such as;
- Rs. 92 billion for water supply
- Rs. 267 billion for solid waste management, storm water drains clearance and resettlement projects
- Rs. 141 billion for sewage treatment plan
- Rs.41 billion for road projects
- Rs. 572 billion for mass transit, rail and road transport projects
Formulation of the Plan:
A separate committee is expected to be formed particularly for the transformation Plan Karachi which would be headed by the Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah. The committee will have members from different political parties of Karachi such as PPP, PTI and MQM-P. As appealing as it sounds, all parties on mutual grounds for the benefit of Karachi? The question and problem lies within the funding of the project. Asad Umar claimed that federal government would be paying 62 percent of the total amount whereas the provincial government claimed to pay 750 billion, leaving only Rs350 billion for federal government to pay.
Both the parties have made high promises but in reality, the remaining balance is expected to be bore by private sectors. The plan of financing from private sectors is yet not strategized and is rather slow and vague. For an investment of this scale, both the center and the province need a solid pipeline of projects with bankable feasibilities, which could take years, before these could be offered to the market. Even after both provincial and federal government pick the tab, they still would need to compromise on other constituencies craving for resources. As per the recent sources, the following contributions are expected to be made by following parties;
The blame game and bricking over each other’s shortfalls is not a new thing for Karachi. PPP has been ruling in Sindh for years and keeping Karachi for MQM, which makes Karachi least favorable for beneficial for PPP. Hence, PPP did not left much resources for the city, leaving the needs and requirements unmet. As discussed before, Karachi being the biggest city creates most of the economic growth, employment and investment opportunities for locals and the foreigners. According to the stats by World Bank, Karachi is expected $330-$459 billion to economy and would require $9-$10 billion to meet the infrastructure and other requirements.
According to the recent tweet by Murtaza Wahab, Sindh government has initiated the implementation of Karachi transformation Plan with the construction of a road from Saudabad Chowrangi to Thado Nulla under the Neighbourhood Improvement Program.
Unfortunately, all the parties in Pakistan who have ruled in Karachi or Sindh has taken out all benefits at the cost of the city which the backbone of economy of Pakistan. As per the current situation, it is unlikely to say that PPP and PTI will lie on the same page for the benefit and betterment of Karachi as the political interests of both parties place them on a collision course. Considering the previous performances of PPP in Sindh and negligence towards Karachi leaves no hope for them. Karachiites have all of their expectations tied to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf which also seems to blur over the period of last two years.
If Karachi is every achieving a turning that has to be during the tenure of PTI and that has to be now. If PTI really wants to stick they need to bring the revolution starting from Karachi. However, the change isn’t easy and can’t be achieved over night. It would need consistent planning and implementation with a complete change of structure and methodology.
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