A detailed letter has been officially sent to the DG Sindh Environmental Protection Agency who had held a public hearing held in KMC on 22nd July 2014 (read Dr Arif Alvi's report) regarding Grade Separated Traffic Plan near Park Towers. This position has been arrived at after extensive deliberations with the constituents of NA-250, and residents of Karachi.
Our objections and recommendations are as follows:
- We believe that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study which was the presented by the consultant should be scrapped. The entire house agreed with this recommendation.
- The study misinformed the public that stake-holders were consulted. The following present in the hearing voiced that they were not consulted at all (particularly the elected representatives) or with whom post-approval consultations were held only to appease them.
- Not consulted were: The MNA of NA 250 in whose constituency lies the project, MPA of PS 113 in whose constituency the traffic is being released (DHA), MPA of PS 112 in whose constituency the project is being implemented, FPCCI whose building is on the road next to Point and who represent all trade organisations in Pakistan, Defense Housing Authority, Stake holder residents eg Mr Shaheen Merchant who presented objections and alternate proposals in the hearing and Shehri who also presented their objections.
- It was unbalanced, totally biased and evidently in support of the builder and the KMC plan.
The KMC did a presentation justifying the project. We have made the following objections and suggestions:
- The project details were never brought before the public and approvals were done in a clandestine manner within days, evidently to support the Bahria Icon Tower, therefore it led to a huge public outcry and the area is in a mess.
- KMC and civic bodies should have made sure first that the infra-structure of water, roads, parking exists before giving approvals.
- There were no alternatives presented to the existing plan? Does not the public deserve to evaluate other options that were considered?
- There was no visual model of the impact of the project with reference to Jahangir Kothari promenade.
- It is a shame that the part of the Jahangir Kothari promenade has already been destroyed.
- Handling traffic problems without improving the metro system or public busing and only through bridges and underpasses serves to pick up the load and drop it into another crossing and is like extinguishing fire with petrol.
We strongly recommend that the proposals and objections from DHA, Shehri, the elected representatives, and the public be given importance which unanimously and clearly rejected the project as it stands and voiced serious suspicions on the workings of the civic agencies to the detriment of the public at large.
Finally, there is a huge dugout at the site causing tremendous inconvenience to the public. A quick decision should be made to modify the existing plans incorporating other options and suggestions for traffic improvement that have been made, and to prevent further damage to the archaeological sites.
If such an expeditious process is not adopted, then at least the dugout has to be filled up immediately and the place restored until an improved model is adopted to change and facilitate the traffic flow in this area.
Signed by Dr Arif Alvi, Mr Samar Ali Khan, Mr Khurrum Sherzaman (PTI MNA and MPAs of the area)
Dated 28th July 2014