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October 24, 2010

Sepa asks CDGK to review commercialisation of Khayaban-e-Saadi

Karachi

October 24, 2010

Karachi
The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) has formally asked the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) to review the commercialisation of Khayaban-e-Saadi in Clifton as commercial status to a residential corridor by the CDGK was proving “socially unacceptable”.
In a letter to the Executive District Officer (EDO) Master Plan Group of Offices, CDGK, the Director General Sepa Naeem Mughal asked the concerned authority to look into the possibilities of revoking the commercialisation status of Khayaban-e-Saadi in Clifton as dwellers of the area had serious objections to it.
“In addition to that, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of commercialisation of the Khayaban-e-Saadi was not carried out, which was a violation of the environmental laws”, DG Sepa pointed out in his letter to CDGK official and suggested him to review the whole process in the interest of environment and residents of Clifton Block-5.
It is worth mentioning here that last week, DG Sepa had announced to call upon CDGK to review commercialisation of all those residential roads in the city which where commercial activities had not yet started and people living around those streets and roads had serious reservations on change of land use status of those roads.
A large number of dwellers of Clifton Block-5 had strongly objected to commercialisation of Khayaben-e-Saadi by the CDGK at a public hearing last week that was held by the Sepa to ascertain public opinion on proposed construction of a high-rise near Karachi Grammar School in Clifton.
Even the environmental consultant hired by the builder of the controversial high-rise for conducting the EIA, had termed the commercialisation of the Khayaben-e-Saadi by the City Council Karachi as ‘flawed’ but had also defended construction of multi-storey building in the residential corridor.
Sepa officials told The News that even an expert committee comprising academicians and environmentalists has strongly

objected to commercialisation of the residential corridor in Clifton and asked the Sepa officials to play their role in revoking its commercialisation status.
The expert committee was formed by Sepa to review EIA of the proposed high-rise on Khayaban-e-Saadi following the public hearing and suggest to environmental watchdog whether it should grant No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to the builder for construction of the building or not.
Officials in the environment protection agency said one of the experts in the five-member expert committee that was formed to review the EIA of the proposed high-rise on Khayaban-e-Saadi had openly opposed giving NOC to Noman Builders for construction of the building.
Three other members of the expert committee, Sepa officials said, were also dissatisfied with the construction of a high-rise in a purely residential area but they were more concerned and critical of commercialisation of the Khayaban-e-Saadi than allowing a high-rise there.
Sepa officials maintained that these three members of the expert committee had so far not given their opinion on the issue of allowing or disallowing the high-rise and announced to dispatch their expert opinion in written to the environmental protection agency in the next couple of days.
As far as composition of the expert committee is concerned, they said a 10-member committee comprising environmentalists and academicians from Karachi University, Bahria University, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), College of Business Management (CBM) Korangi, an architect and a lawyer was formed by the Sepa to review the EIA.
But only four of the experts attended the expert committee meeting while the fifth member was the Director Technical of Sepa, they said, adding that as 50 per cent quorum of the committee was completed, its meeting was convened.
EDO Master Plan Group of Offices Iftikhar Qaimkhani confirmed to The News that they had received a letter from the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) requesting them to look into the commercialisation of the Khayaban-e-Saadi.
“But at the moment, I won’t comment on the issue except that we will look into the contents of the request and put it up with our legal team to decide what to do about the issue” Qaimkhani said.

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