Expectations from the incoming City Government of Karachi
The incoming local bodies government will have to work on a plethora of issues the city of Karachi is facing.
Karachi badly requires a fully functional mass transit system. The federal and provincial promises seem to have lost in oblivion. The city continues to suffer at the hands of the ever powerful transport mafia which has been forcing the citizens of this city to travel in dilapidated buses and under inhuman circumstances. Karachi Circular Railway seems to have been on a back burner for quite a long time now. With an ever-increasing motor traffic and absence of an effective mass transit, the city is fast moving towards a total collapse.
Although this is a federal and provincial subject but the mayor and respective chairmen could get in touch with international consultants and chalk out a strategy to minimize motorists and maximize users of mass transit on the road. Bureaucrats have their way of functioning which is often at a slow pace and goes through a lot of clearance levels. If the local bodies system could speed up this process and expedite project sanctioning, execution and completion phases, we could have more public convenience initiatives within the tenure of any local government.
There was a time during the mayorship of Naimatullah Khan and Mustafa Kamal when garbage disposal was a daily routine. The city looked clean and tidy and very much in order. There was a proper ‘solid waste management’ system in place where garbage trucks of the City District Government of Karachi used to pick and dispose off waste from the city onto the designated sites. This system cease to exist under the current government and heaps of garbage could be seen almost in all the neighbourhoods of Karachi. The new city government will have to revive and overhaul the system of solid waste management besides mechanical sweeping of the roads. The debris left behind after any construction activity piles up and becomes a nuisance for the public. The government will have to impose strict penalties on any individual or developer who fails to get the post construction debris cleared.
Water and sanitation
The K 4 project, which is the greater Karachi bulk water supply scheme will take another 3 years to complete. Till then the local government will have to work towards a serious crack down on the water tanker mafia and round the year water supply to the residents by ensuring just distribution of water and removal of all illegal connections. The city government has their representatives at grass root level. This issue can only be resolved by mobilizing the work force in identifying water thieves and taking necessary action against them. Once a steady supply of water and treatment of sewage is ensured, the general public won’t even object to any hike in the water and sewage bills.
The previous city government introduced the system of traffic wardens, which was a great help for the Sindh traffic police and even during extreme rush hours, the bottlenecks had almost ceased to exist. The incoming government will have to revive that tried and tested traffic management system which will not only provide relief to the road users but will create jobs for the poor and the needy.
Naimatullah Khan, during his tenure, had laid the foundation of public parks in Karachi. This practice was further replicated and continued by Mustafa Kamal and the ultimate beneficiary of which were the residents. After the wrap up of the Local bodies system of governance, these parks started painting a picture of neglect and residents started taking lesser interest in spending their mornings and evenings in fresh air. Such culture will have to be revived and the only way to bring the citizens back to their neighborhood parks is by building more parks and maintaining the existing ones. The new city government will also have to plan out year long activities for residents so as to provide them affordable recreation and encourage social bonding between neighbors.
Mustafa Kamal came up with this brilliant plan of involving the general public in the uplift of the city. The “I own Karachi” program caught the attention of both the intelligentsia, the general public and students who flocked to the registration camps to get their names registered as volunteers. It was an excellent initiative which mobilized Karachiites towards the uplift of the city and instilled in them a concern for their respective neighborhoods and a sense of ownership for their city. The new city government will have to revive that program and involve the public in projects that could benefit the city in the longer run.