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ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has proposed that Ministry of Law and Justice should file a reference in the Supreme Court for utilization of the Bahria Town settlement amount for the projects under Karachi Transformation Plan, sources close to Minister for Planning, told Business Recorder.

Sharing the details, the sources said, Government of Pakistan (GoP) through NDMA/Ministry of Water Resources, Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (SIDCL) and Pakistan Railways, intends to undertake projects worth around Rs.739 billion over the next three years through Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), Public Private Partnership (PPP), Supreme Court Fund and foreign funding (if required) for Karachi infrastructure improvement in the identified areas.

The major projects in these categories are: (i) Greater Karachi Water Supply Project (K-IV); (ii) temporary settlement of Locally Displaced Persons (LDPs), construction of flats for LDPs, clearance of Rivers/Nullahs, roads astride Nullah banks and development of malls, education & health facilities on the cleared rehabilitated Nullahs; (iii) completion of green line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system;(iv) Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and; (v) double railway line freight corridor from KPT to Pipri.

The funding and execution of the temporary and permanent settlement for LDPs will be carried out by the Federal Government/NDMA and provision of land will be the responsibility of the Sindh government. Removal of encroachments along the Nullahs and rivers included in the scope of the plan will also be the responsibility of the Sindh government. Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has requested the ECC to grant approval to the proposed framework and also approve the following: (i) the ongoing Greater Karachi Water Supply Project (K-IV) will be further funded and executed by the federal government through Ministry of Water Resources as the sponsoring agency and WAPDA as the executing agency. Ministry of Water Resources has been informed; (ii) Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and Double Railway Line Freight Corridor from KPT to Pipri will be executed and operated by Ministry of Railways/Pakistan Railways; (iii) NDMA will undertake the projects indicated in the Plan including temporary and permanent settlement of LDPs, revival of rivers and Nullahs, roads astride Nullahs and development of areas astride cleared/rehabilitated Nullahs; (iv) NDMA will re-appropriate an amount of Rs.7 billion out of its existing for Karachi Transformation Plan; (v) Justice Division will request the Supreme Court of Pakistan to allow utilization of Supreme Court Fund (Bahria Town Settlement) for projects under the Karachi Transformation Plan;(vi) Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives will coordinate, facilitate and implement the plan and take appropriate steps including arrangement, demand and re-appropriation of PSDP funds and make changes in the plan that are required to achieve the objectives;(vii) A Steering Committee led by Najeeb Haroon, MNA, has been constituted for overseeing implementation of the Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP). A dedicated Monitoring & Evaluation team in MoPD&SI will be formed under Member (Implementation & Monitoring), Planning Commission to assist the Steering Committee.

The sources said executing ministries/organizations will be responsible for observing legal codal formalities and audit of the projects.

Ministry of Water Resources' query on the executing agency for K-IV project has been addressed. As indicated by NDMA, it has been stated in the summary that the task for removal of encroachments from along the Nullahs and rivers included in the scope of the plan, will be the responsibility of the Sindh government. NDMA has stated that as per discussion held during the meeting at Karachi on September 5, 2020, temporary settlement of Locally Displaced Persons (LDPs) will be the responsibility of the Sindh government. NDMA has further stated that it was decided in a meeting at Karachi that construction of flats for permanent settlement of LDPs will be undertaken by Naya Pakistan Housing Authority.

Finance Division has stated that alternate financing in the event of non-availability of funds from the Supreme Court of Pakistan may be met by Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives (MoPD&SI) by way of re-appropriation or Technical Supplementary grant as the case may be, from PSDP. Finance Division has further stated that the prime responsibility for securing necessary funding for each component included in Karachi Transformation Plan for current and subsequent financial years, stays with MoPD&SI along with allocations for projects under public-private partnership mode.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020