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Mayor says PM’s special package for Karachi only verbal promise so far


May 27, 2019

Two bridges and three major roads of Karachi are being renovated and the fire brigade of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) upgraded with the help of Rs25 billion funds announced by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said this while speaking to The News on Sunday. Sharif had announced the development package for Karachi at a public meeting in Hyderabad in 2017. Later, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the prime minister who succeeded Sharif, announced the same package in November 2017.

The mayor said the KMC did not receive a penny from the funds for Karachi released by the federal government as the amount was received by the governor. He added that the projects initiated through the federal government’s funds in the city were monitored by the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company (KIDC).

When asked whether any funds had been received under the special package for Karachi announced by the incumbent prime minister, Imran Khan, Akhtar said Khan’s package had so far only been a verbal promise as no funds under it were received by the Governor House or the KMC.

The prime minister had announced Rs162 billion development package for Karachi. However, Sindh Adviser on Information Barrister Murtaza Wahab recently claimed that the federal government was going to allocate only Rs1.75 billion for the city in the upcoming budget, according to a proposed document of the Public Sector Development Programme.

Commenting on his recent letter to the chief minister regarding the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and the situation of garbage in the city, the mayor said he awaited a response to his letter.

“Garbage heaps are multiplying in the city,” Akhtar said, adding that he feared a havoc in the city during monsoon. “Work has to be done on a war footing.” He was of the view that unless powers were devolved to the mayor and the elected councilors, holding local government elections would be of no use as the new local governments would not be able to deliver on their promises.

The mayor also appeared pessimistic regarding the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR). He said he did not see any hope as far as the KCR was concerned.

He shared the same pessimistic remarks when asked about the early completion of the K-IV bulk water supply project. There was an acute shortage of water, power and gas in Karachi and the residents were forced to pay inflated power bills, he said.

Akhtar said being the city’s mayor, he would continue to demand of the Sindh chief minister to provide Karachi its due share of.the Octroi Zila tax (OZT) in accordance with the present population of Karachi, which was 30 million in reality but was shown 16 million in official documents.

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