Sindh government, PANI to collaborate on the project
The Sindh government has decided to collaborate with the People and Nature Initiative to turn Neher-e-Khayyam in Karachi’s Clifton into a recreational point.
The government has decided to sign an agreement with PANI, a group comprising 16 architects led by Shahid Abdullah, it was decided during a meeting at the New Sindh Secretariat on Monday.
The cabinet was informed that after a detailed meeting with PANI, a draft agreement was proposed under which a park would be developed and adopted by PANI for 30 years. Under the proposed agreement, the park will not be used for any political or commercial activity, except for small tuck shops.
“This will be a gift for the people of Karachi,” said Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, adding that the project has already been delayed a lot.
The channel was built during the Raj and was one of Clifton’s major lungs, as the late Ardeshir Cowasjee had described it.
Sixteen architects had decided in 2016 to work on restoring it and KMC Mayor Waseem Akhtar had assured support. The plan was to make 20-foot wide and 8-foot long box drains beside the nehr to inject fresh water into the channel. They wanted to run boats on it, build seating areas and greenery around it. The team had also planned to clean up the sewage by setting up septic tanks and reed beds to purify the supply entering through the box drains.
The one-kilometer long channel was divided into 15 to 16 sections roughly 250 to 300 feet each, with each section designed by one architect. It would have cost Rs1 billion and the investment would have come from PANI and the architects’ companies.
Since 2010 the nehr has been eyed as prime real estate. It is 150 feet wide, but encroachments have reduced it to 60 feet. Sewerage from Gizri and adjacent localities enter it.
Ban on plastic bags
The meeting was informed that the Sindh government is banning non-biodegradable plastic bags across the province starting October 1. Murtaza Wahab, the adviser to the CM on the environment, said the province is banning the manufacture, sale, purchase, and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags of all sizes.
It will only allow the use of oxo-biodegradable plastics. Oxo-biodegradable plastics are made from certain materials (polymers) like polyethylene, polypropylene, or polystyrene and are able to biodegrade in the environment.
The chief minister directed his adviser to meet with manufacturers and sellers and take them into confidence regarding the enforcement of the ban.