Karachi to be transformed with World Bank’s $86mn assistance

Karachi – Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Monday said that the government is working to transform Karachi into a more livable, green and resilient metropolitan city by formulating and following a well thought out Karachi Transformation Strategy (KTS) with an objective to improve the socio-economic infrastructure and services delivery in water supply and sanitation, transportation, urban spaces, and institutional strengthening and transformation.

This he said while addressing the launching ceremony of “Educational and Cultural Zone-Saddar area under World Bank (WB) assisted Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Project” in Karachi.

The program was attended by Provincial Ministers Nasir Shah, Sardar Shah and Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, WB Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan, Planning and Development (P&D) Chairman Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput and other.

He said that the World Bank has engaged itself in KTS to support Sindh government’s vision and has carried out a comprehensive Karachi City Diagnostic (KCD) programme. The KCD is an unprecedented endeavor to collect comprehensive data on the city’s economy, livability, and key urban infrastructure it can provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the Karachi Metropolitan Region and estimates investment levels needed to bridge the infrastructure gap and improve the metropolitan region’s economic potential.

In light of the depth and scale of the city’s challenges in term of policy reforms, institutional governance, and infrastructure needs, the provincial government and the WB have agreed upon to launch a dual-track approach.

Under the first track, the WB is supporting a `quick wins’ operation under Karachi Neighborhood Improvement Project (KNIP) focusing on `fast, low cost & high impact’ interventions to respond to emergent city needs.

From this start, the engagement would be a transition to the deeper institutional reforms and major investment needs to be identified under the KCD. These reforms would focus on priority areas such as building a competitive business environment, improving city governance and municipal service delivery, and increasing access to water supply and sanitation for implementation of major KTS initiatives to transform the city KNIP to improve the safety, accessibility, and attractiveness of public spaces in Karachi, such as streets, parks, city squares and pedestrian areas. It also aims at ensuring equal access to all including Women, youth and the poor.

The project once completed will also make it easier for the public and investors to access services such as construction work and business registrations.

The cost of the project is $98 million in which the World Bank share is $86 million while the provincial government would share the remaining $12 million.

The project involves Public Spaces and Mobility Improvements in selected three targeted neighborhoods. They include Saddar Downtown Area Revitalization, Malir area road and public spaces enhancement, Korangi neighborhood mobility improvements.

The subprojects include upgrading of roads and streets, sidewalks, and pedestrian crossings within existing rights-of-way (ROW), upgrading existing open spaces, installing shade features, removing barriers for visitors, reorganizing traffic patterns, closing certain street segments (temporarily or permanently), installing signs, street furniture, lighting, bus stop shelters, organizing parking, installing safety barriers to reduce vehicular encroachment on sidewalks and enhance safety and rehabilitating infrastructure.

The second level will include underground car parking facility with public space such as food centers at Shara-e-Kamal Attaturk. The underground car parking of 10000 Square meters each to accommodate 400 Cars and 600 bikes to be developed on international standards.

Other projects in the second phase would include the development in Arts Council, Malir area road reconstruction and efforts for a better mobility in the Korangi area.

The chief minister launched the project with WB Director Patchamuthu Illangovan and provincial ministers on the visit to under construction work started on Kamal Attaturk Road, in front of Karachi Museum.

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