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Sindh govt flips Karachi Malir Expressway route, PPP stronghold saved

Recent PS-88 victory in ancient goths could be a factor

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 17, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Mar 17, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 months ago

This is a rough indication of the old plan and the proposed plan for the Malir Expressway to give the reader an idea of how it sits by the river. Image: Samaa Digital

The Sindh government is changing the shape and route of the Malir Expressway from the right bank to the left of the river to save money on compensation and ostensibly to gain political currency. 

The expressway runs from the end of DHA, along the Malir River, and ends at the highway. It is a corridor which will connect the two DHAs and make it easier for people to reach other emerging housing like Bahria Town that is springing up as Karachi expands. 

“There is a saving of Rs5billion to Rs6billion in terms of money on account of compensation for demolishing residential units and private agriculture lands,” said the project’s director, bureaucrat Niaz Soomro.

A new survey is being done for the route change.

In the first design, with the wide expressway on the right side of the Malir River, 24 ancient villages would have to go along with 150 acres of farmland. 

Those villages Old Shafi Goth, Lasi Goth, Memon Goth, Sammoo Goth, old thano, Magsi Goth, Thadoo Goth, Nai abadi, Shafi Goth, Dad Muhammad Goth, Mulla Essa Goth, Nasir Town, Jam Goth, Shahu Bagh, Fazal Bagh, Malir Bungalows, Dumllottee Wells Nos 3, 6, 7 & 8, Yaar Muhammad Jokhio Goth, Rasool Bux Khaskheli Goth and Hoth Bazar Goth. These goths were on the way to Anwar Baloch Restaurant in front of Malir Court.

The Sindh government would have had to compensate each and every person whose house or farmland would be in the route of the expressway. But now, by flipping the expressway to the other side of the river, Niaz Soomro says that they will encounter only abandoned government lands. There is one goth, Gulshan-e-Maryam, on this side and its people will be displaced.

“The Sindh government would compensate the residents of Gulshan-e-Maryam,” Soomro added. It is not clear how much or how they will be compensated. This story will be updated once we acquire those details. 
The Sindh Cabinet has to approve these changes.

Background to the expressway
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari laid the foundation stone for Malir Expressway in December last year. It is going to be 39km long with six lanes. It roughly starts at KPT Interchange at Qayyumabad and ends at the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway near Kathore. 

It will have six interchanges: at Korangi Road near Defence View; EBM Causeway; Shah Faisal; Quaidabad near Anwar Baloch Hotel; Memon Goth; and Dumba Goth in Kathore.

The project is a public-private partnership of Rs28 billion in which three companies, JN Company, Habib Construction, and NKB Constructions, are working with the provincial government.

At the time of inauguration, the chief minister said the first portion from Korangi to Quaidabad would be completed within one and a half years and the entire project would take two and a half years. 

He added that his government has put in Rs4 billion and the remaining amount has been generated as a bank loan.

The expressway would have five bridges, five weighbridges, and 63 culverts, and one underpass, according to a handout from CM House.

The project director says an overhead bridge would be included in the present plan at Quaidabad which links the other portions of the expressway and rest of the planning would remain same.

The technical study of the new route would be conducted by NESPAK and NED’s Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development.

Niaz Soomro said the Sindh government would ask the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment report for the new route.

The head of NED’s Infrastructure and Urban Development Dr Adnan Qadir confirmed that their team is working on the technical aspects of the new route recommended by thegovernment.

“In the survey, we are going to check how many houses and private land are going to be affected or demolished by opting for a new route,” Dr Qadir added.

The NED team has completed its survey and is compiling a report in two weeks.

Qadir roughly estimates that the new route would be more feasible than the old one in terms of demolishing houses.

Political price

The old goths in the route’s way have been PPP voters. 

Recently, the PPP candidate in the area’s PS-88 by-polls won the election with a heavy margin.

At the end of January this year, the Malir deputy commissioner and Board of Revenue staff visited Gulshan-e-Maryam and razed some houses and marked others with red spray paint. 

One of the residents, Rafail Sohail Raja, told SAMAA Digital 100 houses at a distance of about 300 meters from the river were marked.

The Gulshan-e-Maryam is located near Jam Khanda Village to the left of Quaidabad Bridge.

The residents went to court and are waiting for a verdict, and in the meanwhile, government officials continue to mark the houses.

Raja said when they asked the officials they were told that the government would only pay them “material price”, which means for the cost of their houses and not the land they bought in Gulshan-e-Maryam. 

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