KARACHI - Around a thousand of slums are being regularised to strengthen vote banks, on the cost of city’s infrastructure, it has been learnt. According to details Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has recently announced to regularise 1000 slum localities which sat on illegally occupied land.

Noted architecture and planer Arif Hassan told The Nation that the regularisation of slums continues since 1978 adding that 72 percent Katchi Abadies have been regularised till date. He said that “alteration in District Malir or in Gadap Town would actually deteriorate the city”.   

Former Administrator KMC Rauf Akhter Farooqui who used to head city’s Master Plan department told The Nation that 1980 act restrained regularisation of any kind of illegal localities. He said that such a massive regularisation of the illegal slums have ruined the infrastructure and further regularisation would change the metropolis into a slum itself. He cited reports of various welfare organisations on dilapidated infrastructure of metropolis due to lack of action against thousand of illegal slum localities. Farooqui pointed out that seventy percent of the city has changed into slums and the concept of metropolis has almost ended.

University of Karachi Chairman Department of Criminology Dr Fathe Muhammad Burfat, said that the urban population of the city is around 40 percent while rural areas covered 60 percent of total population. He said that nothing has been done for the city’s infrastructure and development. Resultantly, emergence of numerous issues including civic problems, utilities issues and problems relating to crime and terrorism has been soaring up proportionally. Dr Burfat asked that why not other three provinces have the ministry of Katchi Abadi?

Minister Katchi Abadi Javaid Nagori while talking to The Nation declined to know about the decision of regularisation of the 1000 slum localities. Nagori said that we have strong criteria to lease the Katchi Abadies. The localities established before 1985 can be regularised only and such localities must have proper infrastructure as areas with narrow lanes and without proper basic utilities will not be regularised.  Nagori said that DG SBCA Mazoor Qadir is yet to be contacted for the plan. He said that regularisation of illegal localities would create further deterioration and also ruin basic infrastructure of the port city.

Member Sindh Assembly of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Sardar Ahmed while talking to The Nation said that “Karachi remains without blessing of ruling elite”. He said that the political division of the city into six districts could not resolve issues of the city. He said that MQM continues to struggle for local government under the constitution article 143. He said that bureaucrats could not deal issues, it is essential to setup public representative body to resolve problems of metropolis.

Chief Jamat-e-Islami Sindh Dr Merajul Huda Siddiqui said that the government is responsible for such detritions in the megacity where people from across Pakistan come to earn their livelihood. He said that ruling governments have so far been unable to complete census since many years and did nothing to resolve the issues of Karachiities.

He said that not only political gains or the vote bank but number of other interests are behind the regularisation of Katchi Abadies.

In October 2014 Sindh Government had passed Sindh Special Development Board Bill, 2014 without consensus of other political stake holders of city.

Following the bill, Director General of Sindh Building Control Authority Manzoor Qadir who also heads the Master Plan department conducted a meeting with few Town Planners and official a private organisation Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) with the aim of updating the Master Plan 2007 of the city.

Manzoor Qadir had informed the meeting that the up-gradation of Master Plan 2007 is required on immediate basis due to massive increase in population of city. He said that Master Plan 2020 would be completed soon to facilitate residents of the illegal slums. Citing reports of various organisations, he was of the view around one thousand illegal slum localities exist in metropolis, which would be regularised under the recently passed Special Development Act, 2014 while authorities were also tasked to establish High Density Zone. DG SBCA and Master-plan Manzoor Qadir was not available when contacted.