The chief minister of Sindh said on Wednesday that this year’s heavy monsoon rains had wreaked havoc on the Karachi and Mirpurkhas divisions, so he had asked the NED University of Engineering & Technology to conduct a study on the Karachi drainage system.
Speaking with World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine, who summoned the chief executive at CM House, Syed Murad Ali Shah said he had also decided that necessary changes would be made to the design of the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD).
Shah said heavy rains had caused urban flooding in Karachi as well as inundated hundreds of villages in the Mirpurkhas Division and parts of the Hyderabad division. He said he had commissioned NED University to carry out a study on the Karachi drainage system and suggested ways and means of repairing it so that water discharge could be carried out through natural gravity.
He said at the meeting that the university had started its studies and would be finished in the next two months, after which the city drainage system would be designed accordingly. He said World Bank experts should help design a modern drainage system for the city.
CM said there was a design flaw in the 385-kilometer long LBOD, which started flowing backwards at high tide in the sea. “Therefore, instead of dumping salt water or rainwater, LBOD began to submerge the surrounding area.”
Therefore, he said, his party had decided that the design flaws would be excluded from the LBOD. He urged the World Bank to provide technical assistance to provincial governments in eliminating design detection from sewers. Benhassine said his technical team would provide full support to the Sindh government in developing a proper drainage system in Karachi and removing design flaws from the LBOD.
The meeting was informed that the World Bank will build a 61 billion rupee, 22 km bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor in Karachi, including infrastructure, drainage, lighting, busways, stations, terminals and depots.
Shah said Yellow Line is the most important project for the city. He added that it has been developed mainly along the Korangi and Korangi Industrial Zone roads which connect the southeastern part of the city (Korangi City, Landhi Town and Bin Qasim City) which is considered a large and densely populated industrial and residential area.
He said WB was preparing the design but it needed to be accelerated so that the project could be taken up for development. Benhassine assured the chief executive that the project design would be finished soon.
The BRT project will have a 1 km mixed route at Sharea Faisal, with eight underpasses and two elevated U-turns, 268 buses and 28 stations, 22 of which will be inclined and the remaining six on the underpass.
The meeting also discussed the need to conduct property surveys in Karachi and Hyderabad. Planning & Development Agency Chairman Mohammad Waseem said that the last property survey in Karachi was conducted in 2001 by the excise & taxation department, and will now be carried out by World Bank experts.
It states that only Rs2 billion in property tax is collected from the city, which is lower than that of Lahore.
The meeting informed that after Karachi, the Sindh government wants to conduct a property survey in Hyderabad so that property tax recovery can be increased there as well.
The CM said that the funds raised as property taxes are being used by local agencies. “If the recovery is stepped up, they will financially strengthen local agencies.” The meeting also discussed a large number of current and new World Bank-sponsored projects, and agreed to review the performance of the entire portfolio immediately.
The meeting was also attended by Main Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, Main Secretary CM Sajid Jamal Abro and World Bank Operations Manager for Pakistan Melinda Good.