KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Wednesday that Karachi was a megalopolis city and has enormous problems, particularly of encroachments on its lands, waterways and storm water drains, unplanned commercialisation of roads and proper development of its infrastructure but during the last 10 years we have started massive reconstructions.

“I am sure our interventions in the shape of development of roads, flyovers, underpasses, storm water drains have produced some results but still the city needed much more.”

This he said while speaking at a FPCCI seminar on Importance of City and Regional Planning for Business Development, Commerce and Prosperity of the People of Karachi at FPCCI House in Clifton, Karachi.

Mr Shah said urbanisation was a process of continuing increase in the number and size of both area and population of the city where infrastructure for an improved quality of life was better organized. He added that social and economic development had been the driving force for urbanization.

The CM said that the plans for urbanization were introduced for settlement of large populations engaged in development activities, to induce high density, to provide better quality of living and to restrain activities that may have negative impact on the physical and social environment.

Mr Shah said that Karachi had a different story in terms of playing havoc with its infrastructure and other resources. “This mess started in the 1980s when there was a dictatorial government,” he said and added it was the beginning of encroachment on the vast lands of the city and it was the period when a large number of katchi abadis had emerged.

The CM said that the devolution plan further aggravated the situation because they were given vast powers with making the Nazim accountable. “The land revenue powers given to the nazim resulted in unplanned allotment of lands even on nullas, natural waters and even near important installations,” he said.

“I am sorry to say that I cannot bulldoze the houses in the katchi abadies to turn thousands of people homeless,” the CM said and added: “Yes, we are planning to settle the people living in katchi abadis. He said that when the people would be made homeless, they would settle somewhere else- in this way this issue would never be resolved.

The chief minister said that when he came into power, his government started constructing roads, flyovers and underpasses. “We have reconstructed Tariq Road, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Khaliquzzaman Road, Hub River Road, University Road and various other roads along with storm water drains,” he said and added in the history of this cit,y it was PPP government in Sindh which had constructed a large number of underpasses and flyovers.

Mr Shah said that he had tried his best to reconstruct the dilapidated infrastructure of the city and was now focusing on KCR. “We have got it approved under CPEC related projects but the previous government [PTI] abandoned it,” he said and added again he had taken it up with the prime minister and he was getting it included in CPEC afresh.

He said that the KCR was a solution to the city’s transport system, however, they had started some BRT projects and had brought new buses in the city under the Peoples Bus Service.

Talking about the recent spell of heavy rains, the CM said that its accumulated water was disposed of with the stoppage of the rain. “Earlier, the city used to submerge – it means we have done something that’s why the city gets cleared when the rain stops,” he said.

Mr Shah, talking about solid waste management, said that his government had brought in Chinese companies for solid waste management. “Now, compared to previous years, the city remains clean and its garbage is lifted well in time,” he said.

The chief minister offered the FPCCI to come over and work with his government on PPP mode so that the city could be reconstructed with collective wisdom through their combined resources.

In the seminar, Dr Qaiser Bengali and Dr Noman of NED University gave presentations on urbanization and its problems. Earlier, President FPCCI Suleman Chawla and Obaid Saleem Patel also spoke on the occasion.