ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Staff of the Army (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and several main ministers were told on Thursday that more than 1.1 trillion Rs 100 projects had already been planned under the Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP) to resolve the persistent civic and infrastructure problems of the country’s financial hub.
Stressing the timely completion of the projects, the Prime Minister said that a lasting solution to Karachi’s problems was crucial, adding that the damage caused by rainwater in the metropolis every year during the monsoon was caused by illegal development of the nullahs.
The 2020 rainy season caused major floods in Karachi and the problems of drainage and sewerage became a national priority. Record-breaking monsoon rains caused extensive damage, leaving hundreds dead.
The Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting of the KTP, attended by Federal Ministers Asad Umar, Faisal Vawda, Sheik Rashid Ahmed, Prime Minister Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Commander of the Army Gen Bajwa.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister claimed that alternate plans should be made in advance for the well-deserved citizens of Karachi prior to the elimination of the intrusions. It also guided the creation of a technical committee within the Ministry of Planning to make recommendations for improving the ability and usefulness of the K-4 project to provide water to the region. The meeting was told that the projects must have been finished in three stages.
Separately, Imran chaired a meeting between the Pakistan Island Development Authority (Pida) and the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda), which was also attended by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and the chairmen of both the authorities and senior government officials.
Representatives of AWTEC, a Dutch company involved in investing in projects, suggested the construction of a $1.3 billion waste and desalination plant in Karachi. The company also shared its deep interest in the Ravi project and the development of a green energy plant in Lahore.
An official statement said that the technology used in these projects will be produced in Pakistan, generating opportunities for technology transfer and jobs in the region, adding that the steam created by the project could also be used in industries. In this regard, it has been reported that an MoU will soon be signed between the government and AWTEC.
Due to the lack of a waste management scheme, Imran said that the issues in Pakistan were growing day by day. He said Pakistan’s water supplies, especially the coastal belt, were the most affected, adding that such projects would help provide cities with world-class housing facilities.
In the meantime, Imran also chaired a weekly meeting of the National Coordinating Committee for Housing, Building and Development, attended by Prime Minister Ishrat Hussain, the governor of Sindh and others.
The meeting was also attended by Chief Secretaries and senior officials from all four provinces via video connection. The Housing and Works Secretary told the participants about the Pakistan Quarters Housing Project to be built in Karachi.
Under the scheme, 6,000 apartments will be designed for which negotiations with the Government of Sindh and other related departments were underway. The first phase of the project will see the launch of construction on 700 residential units at a cost of Rs4 billion within the next three months.
The official statement issued after the meeting reported that the Prime Minister had been told that the Ministry, after approval, auctioned five private plots in Islamabad for more than Rs13 billion, which would provide an investment of Rs50 billion and provide employment for 10,000 people.”
During the meeting, Imran made it clear that there was currently no lack of electricity in the region, so there was no reason for delay in providing new connections. He also pointed out that no extra financial pressure should be put on those who take loans from banks to build their houses, stating that the government’s goal was to provide shelter for everyone.
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Imran argued that the lengthy process of securing permits for different utility facilities should be made simpler. Imran also instructed the chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and other agencies concerned to provide facilities to foreign investors, stressing that Pakistanis living abroad were the most precious resource and that all obstacles to their involvement in domestic business activities should be eliminated on a priority basis.