Karachi’s Physical Planning Issues on the Eve of the Millennium

3.2 Oil Pipe Line From Refinery To National Highway

At present, oil is pumped from the port to the National Refinery and then back to the port from where tankers carry it through the city to up-country. If a pipeline is laid from the refinery to the National Highway near Pipri, 23,000 oil tankers will not need to enter the city. This will decongest the city roads and prevent the massive environmental degradation that the tanker movements and terminals create.

3.3 Bus Terminals, Depots And Workshops

Karachi has over 17,000 mini buses, buses and inter-city buses. They have no terminals, workshops or depots. These functions are performed on the roads and in various key locations they occupy over 70 per cent of road space. Thirty two terminal sites have been identified by the Traffic Engineering Bureau. Ten terminals are ready for use while work can start on the remaining locations. They need to be built on a priority basis and a system for managing and operating them needs to be developed. The required system has not evolved due to bureaucratic red-tapism and lack of decision making.

3.4 Revitalisation And Extension Of Circular Railway

The Karachi Circular Railway should be revitalised and extended three kms into Baldia (to serve a population of 800,000); three kms into Orangi (to serve a population of 1.2 million); 4.8 kms into New Karachi (to serve a population of 2 million); and four kms into Korangi (to serve a population of 1.5 million). This will link Karachi’s working class areas to the major work areas of Steel Mills, Landhi-Korangi Industrial Area, Saddar, Central Business District (CBD), SITE and the Shahra-e-Faisal commercial zone. At present, all traffic from Baldia, Orangi, New Karachi, Landhi-Korangi and Gulshan-e-Iqbal reaches the CBD and Saddar through M.A. Jinnah Road and the arteries that link with it. The building of the extensions to the Railway and its revitalisation will decongest M.A. Jinnah Road and the major arteries and provide fast and comfortable transport to lower and lower middle income groups from their residential areas to their work areas. This plan will have no adverse environmental effects since it does not use existing automobile dominated corridors of movement. Details of this plan are available with NESPAK and the Urban Resource Centre.

3.5 Saddar And Lea Market Traffic Plans

According to press report, over 5,000 encroachers (stalls, push carts, shops) employing over 20,000 persons have been removed from Saddar and Lea Market. This is not a solution. No government does this to its people, especially in a period of recession and inflation. Also, these encroachments have developed to serve the transit population (that passes through these two important nodes of the city) and the ad-hoc bus terminals, bus workshops and bus depots that have developed on the roads in Saddar and the old city. A traffic plan for both these areas, along with the building of proper terminals and workshop facilities, needs to be developed so that a number of streets can be pedestrianised where the encroachers can be legally rehabilitated. This rehabilitation, if properly developed in planning and architectural terms can enhance the built environment and the quality of life, not only for these areas but for the whole of Karachi. The rents that will be generated from this rehabilitation will amount to over Rs 2 crore per month. This can go towards maintaining and improving these areas over time. The traffic and pedestrianisation plan will also improve circulation. Details regarding the proposal are available with the Urban Resource Centre.

4. Solid Waste Management

The major problem of solid waste management in Karachi is related to the role and location of the recycling industry. This industry consists of 486 formal and informal units which recycle about 30 per cent of Karachi’s 6,000 tons per day solid waste. The annual turn over of these units is Rs 1.2 billion. This industry is located within the city and so the solid waste instead of being lifted and taken to the land fill sites is sorted within the city on public spaces creating massive environmental degradation and social problems for the neighbourhoods where this activity is carried out. The recyclable material is then taken to the inner city recycling factories. Discussions with the recyclers suggest that if they are given land, water and electricity (at cost price) they will be willing to shift to the land fill sites. If this happens, then it will be more economical to carry out the sorting business at the land fill sites as well. This will ensure that solid waste is lifted and taken to the land fill sites and the major constraint to the functioning of this sector will be removed. This entire activity if properly planned and managed can generate considerable revenues for the KMC. Three large land fill sites are available but are not fully utilised due to the factors mentioned above. Details are available with the Urban Resource Centre.

5. Housing

Karachi requires 80,000 housing units per year. The formal sector produces only 26,700 units per year. The rest of the demand is taken care of by densification of existing settlements and the expansion of katchi abadis through informal subdivision of state land. It is estimated that 32,000 plots are developed in the katchi abadis every year. At present, over 50 per cent of Karachi’s population lives in katchi abadis.

To overcome this problem, it is important to support the Khuda-ki-Basti model of incremental development evolved by the Hyderabad Development Authority and being replicated in Tesar Town Karachi. The Katchi Abadi Improvement and Regularisation Programme, using the OPP model, is also being successfully carried out by the Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority through the generation of local funds and without using any foreign loans. Details are available with the Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority.

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