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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday announced a Rs 162 billion development package for Karachi for upgradation of its transport, water and sewerage infrastructure. The prime minister chaired a meeting of Karachi Transformation Committee in which he said the package comprised 18 projects, including 10 public transport and seven water and sewerage projects. "We have designed a special package for the city through our own resources and the public-private partnership to overcome the issues of public transport, supply and drainage of water and provision of other basic necessities," the premier said.
Khan also underscored the need for creating a new master plan for Karachi. Highlighting the need to conserve water, Imran said that there was a need to launch an effective awareness campaign about the importance of water. "We all are very much aware of the complications in completion of K-IV project which is why it is very important to conserve the amount of water we have right now by involving the people through a campaign."
Speaking about the criticality of a new master plan, Imran said that it was very difficult to provide sanitation, other civic facilities and even control law and order as "the city has been spreading without any proper plan". He further said that Karachi looks like a 'concrete slab' from an aerial view. He called for preparing an 'interim sketch' from restraining the city from spreading further. He said though the development of Karachi was supposed to be the provincial government's responsibility, they did nothing for the metropolis.
He said the Sindh government received its full due share under the NFC but they showed lack of concern towards Karachi's development. He said the development package was not just to appease the people rather it manifested the federal government's belief that Pakistan could never progress without developing Karachi.
He said during the previous years, Karachi had faced infrastructural deterioration that had compelled the investors to divert their investment to other markets. The prime minister strongly called for a massive awareness drive for water conservation and cited the models of Australia and the UK which made great efforts to conserve the natural resource despite receiving sufficient rains.
He said the development projects, under this package, would be executed through public-private partnership and on BOT basis. He said keeping in view the shrinking green areas, the government had decided to encourage vertical constructions all around except in landing and take-off zones of the airport.
The federal government would also establish a university in Hyderabad, he added. He said he would be in constant contact with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail to ensure proper implementation of the said projects.
Speaking about the packages for drought-hit Tharparkar, the prime minister said he had announced 'Sehat Cards' for Tharis during his earlier visit with the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as children were dying there. Two mobile-hospitals and four ambulances were ready to serve the people in distract Tharparkar as installation of RO plants worth one billion would also be completed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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