KARACHI: The Sindh government has always given importance to the people of Karachi, which is evident from the development network laid down in the form of roads, flyovers and underpasses across the city, declared Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday.
He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of four development schemes, including two bridges in Korangi, an underpass at Haider Ali Road, and roads inside and around Cantt Railway Station, by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Korangi.
“The year 2019 is ending, and in 2020, the PPP chairperson will be the prime minister of Pakistan,” the chief minister stated, addressing Bhutto.
“Our vision is to turn Karachi into a competitive and liveable city,” he said, adding that the Sindh government would achieve this with the help of foreign donor agencies and public-private partnerships in a project costing $230 million.
Claiming that the provincial government had undertaken many mega projects in the metropolis, he named the widening and improvement of Sharae Faisal, University Road, Hub River Road, Madinat ul Hikmat Road and the road from Fawara Chowk to Karachi Zoo as examples, as well the beautification of Cantt Railway Station and construction of Drigh Road underpass and the Munzil Pump flyover.
The CM also discussed other recently completed projects in the city. According to him, the underpass at Tariq Road had also been completed in less than nine months for a cost of Rs589.9 million, the Begum Rana Liaquat Ali flyover in seven months for Rs668.2 million, the reconstruction of Tipu Sultan Road in five months for Rs308.6 million, Sunset flyover for Rs460.4 million in five months, the Submarine Chowk underpass in 13 months for Rs2.2 billion and Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi Road in 15 months for Rs693.5 million.
He stated that apart from roads, the Sindh government had also worked on sectors such as water supply, fire-fighting and disaster management on a large scale.
The CM highlighted the upgradation of the Pipri water filter plant, the laying of water pipelines for Orangi Town and Baldia Town, the improvement of water and sewerage systems and the purchase of 10 fire engines and a 104-metre snorkel.
Meanwhile, Shah also commented on the tussle between the Sindh government and the Centre over the province’s ongoing gas crisis. “I am surprised to know that a federal minister is holding my [provincial] government responsible for the shortage of gas in Sindh,” he said, referring to the recent statement by federal energy minister Omar Ayub Khan.
He added that the Sindh government’s stance on the implementation of Article 158 of the Constitution in letter and spirit was very clear. “We want you to meet the gas requirements of Sindh first before distributing the remaining gas wherever it is needed,” he said. “We won’t allow you to take away gas being produced in Sindh and force us to purchase liquefied natural gas (LNG).”
The CM said that he had clarified from the start that the Sindh government would not purchase LNG for its domestic or industrial consumers. “We would use the gas we are producing, and if you [the Centre] need gas, you can purchase LNG,” he added.
He claimed that the federal government was creating gas shortages in Sindh to cover up its own inefficiency when the situation had actually come about as a result of its policies.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2019.
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