KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Karachi on Saturday to unveil a massive Rs1,100bn, three-year development plan for the city, a week after torrential rains inundated roads and triggered power outages in the metropolis for more than 48 hours.
Addressing a news conference at the Governor House, the prime minister said that the ‘historic’ Rs1,100bn Karachi development package will cater to the city’s diverse problems ranging from water, transport and solid waste management.
PM Imran said that he would have arrived in Karachi earlier but it was important to decide on a structure to fix the city’s problems first before he could visit the metropolis.
“We have been put to another test,” he said, referring to the devastation in the city brought about by the recent rains. The prime minister said that the floods have ravaged Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Swat and interior Sindh.
He said that the government will focus on Karachi and also tackle the problems being faced by other provinces alongside.
Delving into how the government had dealt with the coronavirus situation, PM Imran said that following the same formula, his government had decided to constitute the Provincial Coordination and Implementation Committee (PCIC) which will report to the chief minister Sindh.
“It [PCIC] will include all stakeholders,” said the prime minister.
‘Different entities have jurisdiction in Karachi’
PM Imran spoke about the problems of implementing plans in Karachi.
“It is important that different entities have jurisdiction in Karachi,” he said. “Implementation of the plans was difficult before but now, through the PCIC, it will be easy as the federal and provincial governments and the army will be monitoring it,” he added.
The prime minister stressed on reforming the transport system in Karachi, adding that the Green Line and various BRT lines were included in the plan.
“The government will decide about the transport and roads’ issue today,” he said.
PM Imran said that one of the major problems of Karachi is solid waste management and that it will also be resolved.
Speaking about the devastation caused by the recent floods in the province, PM Imran said that he had been informed about the extent of damage caused in interior Sindh in particular.
The premier said that the government was making a plan concerned with the rehabilitation of people who had been affected by the floods and that he had spoken to Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan about the problem as well.
He said that the government will also provide help to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chitral and Swat who have suffered due to the floods.
PM Imran praised the government for handling the COVID-19 pandemic well, saying that very few countries in the world had handled the problems associated with the virus like Pakistan had done.
Going back to the development package, the premier said that it will be a three-year plan with the first phase of the plan to take a year while the rest will be implemented in two years.
PM Imran arrives in Karachi
Earlier when he arrived, the premier was accompanied by information minister Shibli Faraz and MNA Amir Kayani on his one-day visit to the city. He is expected to preside over a meeting shortly to discuss the Karachi Transformation Plan.
The meeting of the Karachi Committee was held with the prime minister in the chair and was attended by federal ministers Asad Umar, Ali Zaidi, Senator Shibli Faraz, Amin-ul-Haq, governor and chief minister Sindh among others.
The premier is also expected to hold a meeting with businessmen and industrialists after which he will address a press conference at the Governor House to announce the development plan for Karachi.
Before wrapping up his one-day Karachi visit, PM Imran is expected to meet members of the PTI-led government’s coalition partners, the Grand Democratic Alliance and the Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).
Afterwards, he will pay a visit to the Pakistan Stock Exchange before departing from the city.
As per documents seen by The News, the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) — worth Rs300 billion — has been included as one of the projects under the Rs802 billion KTP’s mass transit systems. China will provide Rs250 billion whereas the Government of Sindh will add Rs50 billion to the project.
Six mass transit system projects worth Rs447.43 billion are expected to be announced under the KTP. Among the development projects are eight sewerage projects, four solid waste management projects, two water drainage projects, and various road construction and repair projects costing Rs162.60 billion, Rs14.86 billion, Rs4.70 billion, and Rs62.30 billion, respectively.
It was reported that Rs723.25 billion more are needed for the completion of the transformation plan while Rs32 billion have already been allocated to the development projects in the current year’s budget while Rs47.18 billion have been spent so far.