Karachi             -         Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that 18th amendment has trickled down financial powers to the provinces that’s why Sindh Revenue Board has become a strong tax collecting organisation.

This he said on Friday while inaugurating Peoples Square and underground car parking here at Saddar Downtown area. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah accompanied him. 

Provincial Ministers, Saeed Ghani, Syed Nasir Shah, Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh, Minister Irrigation Sohail Anwar Siyal, Advisor Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Chairman P&D Muhammad Waseem, provincial Secretaries also attended the inauguration.

The World Bank Group Country Director Najy Benhassine and representatives from Islamabad and Washington DC participated through online connectivity to attend the ceremony.

Bilawal said that the SRB has achieved it recovery target but FBR failed to meet its target, as a result provincial governments, including Sindh suffered huge revenue shortfalls in their agreed share. Bilawal said that Karachi was the city where killing of innocent people was the order of the day.  “International mafias were involved and the local thugs supported them,” he said and ,added, the then dictator instead of taking action against them decided to negotiate with terrorists.

He said when PPP came into power in Sindh it started operation against criminals and terrorists and restored peace in the city.

Chairman PPP stated that his party government would be resolving issues of Karachi and its people.  “Imran Khan completely failed to fulfil all his promises but the Sindh government would be serving people of this city,” he said.

He said that he would to construct Peoples Squares in every district of the province.

The Underground Parking and People’s Square in Saddar Downtown Area has been constructed under Karachi Neighborhood Improvement Project (KNIP), he added. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah speaking on the occasion said that this was the first neighbourhood area which we have improved. 

We are improving such other 22 areas and make Karachi a beautiful city,he said.

He said that $10 billion were required to restore entire infrastructure of the city, including sewerage system, storm water drains, parks etc which the provincial as well as federal government could not arrange that was why World Bank and Asian Bank have been approached to finance them. Murad Ali Shah said that the Local Government Department has been housed in a office constructed on a Nala.

Similarly, parking area of Supreme Court is constructed on a Nala, he added.

This situation has not emerged overnight but this has been aggravating over the years, he said.

He said Karachi Neighborhood Improvement Project was built upon the on-going initiatives of his government in collaboration with the World Bank Group.  He said that the provincial government had launched the three-component Project with a total cost of Rs10.260 billion to transform the city into a more livable, competitive and inclusive megacity.

He said that the project has components of enhancing public space and mobility improvements in selected neighborhoods, support to administrative services, city capacity development and implementation and technical assistance.

According to the CM, Saddar Area has a high concentration of Civic, Education, Cultural and Commercial uses and a large number of daily visitors.

“Sub-projects in Saddar Area may include upgrading roads and streets, sidewalks, pedestrian crossing within existing rights of way. Upgrading open spaces installing shade features, signs, street furniture, lighting and re-organizing traffic patterns,” he said.

Murad Ali Shah said that KNIP’s intervention in Saddar included creating a Pedestrian Trail which would improve traffic congestion and provide an open space `Piazza’ for the community visiting the Arts Council and students attending Colleges.

He further said:“One of the sub-projects involves the “Re-development of the Educational and Cultural Zone in Saddar Downtown Area”, which would enhance public spaces and improve mobility on Dr Ziauddin Road, Deen Muhammad Wafai Road and M.R. Kiyani Road along with the construction of a two-level Underground Parking Piazza providing parking facility to over 350 cars and 250 motor bikes for traffic calming in the busy area of Saddar Downtown. The toplevel Piazza would have food stalls, street lighting and furniture to enrich and increase the beautification of the surrounding area which includes S.M. Arts and Law College, D.J Science, S.M Commerce College, N.E.D University, the cultural hub of The Arts Council of Pakistan and the landmark Burns Garden which forms the Educational and Cultural Zone in Saddar Downtown Area.”

Apart from the intervention in Saddar of developing the Educational and Cultural Zone, he said that KNIP was undertaking road network improvements in Malir and Korangi Area and have financed Single Window Facility for Automation of Construction Permits in Sindh Building Control Authority to support Sindh Ease of Doing Business. 

“This initiative has contributed in increasing Pakistan’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index,” he stated.