Lyari expressway: Concerns of the URC


Many thousand families live in and along the Lyari River bed which is really a sewage channel except when it rains. The majority of the families within the bed work in garbage collecting and sorting which is recycled in the neighbourhood factories. Environmental conditions are poor as in other similar settlements located around the nallas in various parts of the city. The Urban Resource Centre (URC) feels that a rehabilitation plan for those living within the River bed needs to be developed and implemented. However, it has a number of reservations and concerns regarding the governments’ plan for building the Lyari Expressway and displacing businesses and homes in an age of recession, unemployment, inflation and growing homelessness. Its major concerns are given below.

1. Public Consultation

The Lyari Expressway Project has generated a lot of controversy and debate. As such, public consultations should have been held before deciding to build the project. Such consultations are important since many Karachi projects have been disasters and were foreseen as such by citizens’ groups and professionals. It is of some concern that there is no transparency in the planning and proposed implementation process of the Expressway.

2. Resettlement Plan

The destruction of homes and businesses has been commenced before the finalisation of the plan. The options being offered to the affectees are in areas where there is no water, roads, electricity, social amenities or economic opportunities. A resettlement plan should have been an integral part of the project.

3. Lyari Expressway and Its Adjacent Areas

The adjacent areas of the Lyari Corridor have immense problems. They are the most congested areas of Karachi and are a major cause for Karachi’s environmental degradation. The Lyari Expressway will not improve the conditions in these areas but may aggravate them further.

4. Aesthetics

The Lyari Expressway’s visual impact on the city is questionable and needs to be subjected to an environmental impact analysis.

5. Priorities

Karachi’s traffic and related problems can be solved through more appropriate and cost effective means than the building of the Lyari Expressway.

6. Alternatives

There are rational alternatives which overcome many of the problems that the building of the Lyari Expressway is creating for the people of the Lyari Corridor in particular and the city in general. The URC is of the opinion that work on the Expressway should be stopped and a consultation on the above concerns should be initiated.

The attached paper gives the details of the above concerns.

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