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KARACHI: Several leading experts discussed at length Karachi’s various infrastructure challenges and said that they were by and large to issues related to the city’s governance.

Participants of a webinar organized by Mehfooz Pakistan, a web-based initiative to channel and draw public attention to challenges related to public and personal safety and their interplay with government institutions spoke at a webinar on Karachi’s Dilapidated Infrastructure: Major Challenges.

The webinar was hosted by journalist and TV show host Zarrar Khuhro and included former Administrator Karachi, Fahim uz Zaman, Prof Lubna Baig, Head of Public Health JPMC, Muhammad Toheed, Urban Planner and Climate Researcher with the IBA and Naimat Khan, correspondent for Arab News.

Fahim uz Zaman was asked what was the main reason for the city’s poor infrastructure. And he said this was linked primarily to poor and bad governance. He shared some great facts from the past which are not common knowledge.

He said M.A. Jinnah Road is one of Karachi’s oldest roads since 1915 and was the widest for many years. But now pedestrians cannot walk on it because there is so much encroachment over it.

He said in the older Pakistan, there was a concept of dual pumping system, one line was for drinking water and the other was of grey water which was recycled water that could be used for washing and cleaning. Now these things don’t exist, he said.

Urban researcher and IBA teacher Mohammad Toheed said the lack of availability of water was Karachi’s biggest problem. Some areas get no water for 3-4 months and some have free flowing water supply. GIS can be used to identify demand and supply of water to make it efficient instead of doing it manually.

Dr Lubna Baig of JPMC said that the city has 100-150 accidents every day and 90% of these involve motorcycle riders. There was also the issue of public health and an example of this was water samples tested in Karachi had traces of poliovirus. She said that doctors urge the public to wash hands but that is simply not possible when there isn’t even enough drinking water.

Journalist Naimat Khan said that there were ‘two Karachis- one which has facilities and one which has nothing.

He said 60% of people live in katchi abadis. Karachi needs development as a whole not based on districts. He said that some years ago the city had 700 bus routes and 25,000 buses, and now less than a thousand buses were there.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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