Mega city Karachi with the population of over 2 crores is one of the populous city of Pakistan. Moreover, being the industrial hub of the country, it is ever growing and every day a large number of new cars and motor cycles are being added on the roads. To cope the traffic congestion few years back, it was decided by the then President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to build overhead bridges and underpasses in the city , City Nazim Advocate Naimat Ullah Khan did some work during his tenure and after him, another City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal started mega development work in whole city and in few years’ time the City of Karachi turned to look a modern city having signal free corridors to ease the traffic congestion but after some time, these bridges and under-passes started damaging due to absolutely No maintenance. Similarly, once the KPT interchange was illuminated with colorful lights but sorry to say they are no more there. It was also rated as no. 1 interchange project due to green park at the roundabout and that is also being neglected thus losing its beauty. The question is that who is responsible and should all such things go destroyed? Or do we need donors to finance maintenance cost ?
When we talk about private sector projects, we have example of Bahria Town, Clifton underpass and flyover which have changed the whole scenario. it’s an example that how these mega projects are being maintained.
On the other hand one can see Shahra e Faisal Flyover and Landhi Fly over where staff of the concerned department burn Kachra which results severe damage to the super structure and making loss of millions of rupees of public revenue.
A big example of encroachment underneath a flyover is the Defense Authority Gizri Flyover where the whole area is encroached by motor mechanics , truck drivers and Taxi drivers but no one from DHA realizes to remove these encroachment. The question is that are we promoting encroachments by building flyovers in the city ?
As compared to Lahore and Islamabad flyovers and underpasses, in Karachi these are in worst condition because nobody owns these land mark projects. However, recently I experienced a pleasant surprise to see the paint work on some fly overs and underpasses in the city. We must appreciate this initiative and whoever is doing this work for beautification purpose should be acknowledged. I would suggest that we should adopt one color scheme for all flyovers and underpasses though out the city. Complete removal of all encroachment, proper lighting, heavy plantations around the area with regular maintenance the year round and proper use of underneath areas of the flyovers can uplift the face of the city.
In Indonesia, Thailand , Malaysia and Singapore, you will find flyovers completely covered with different types of plants and thus no need to paint. We can also do the same work on the flyovers. I believe that our horticulture department can make arrangements to grow plants on the similar ground like other countries.
Art lovers in Karachi have also started making colorful paintings on roadside walls for which it is suggested to adopt a uniform policy.
The final word is that encroachment underneath flyovers is not acceptable in any case as it is also a security threat. The only option for these spaces is to use them for public welfare purpose.
Written by: Waqar H. Haidri