The Master Plan department, which has planned what Karachi city looks like since 1960, will be closed soon as the government has decided to replace it with a Sindh-wide authority.
The PPP-run Sindh government will first have to give the new authority legal cover by getting the Sindh Assembly to vote on and pass the Sindh Urban and Regional Master Plan Authority Act. It is likely to be tabled in the assembly during the session starting January 22.
Local Government Secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh said that the idea is to introduce the Sindh Urban and Regional Master Plan Authority to undertake town planning across the province.
“The authority would work independently with a separate director-general in all regions of Sindh and having its headquarters in Karachi,” Shaikh added.
The aim is to reformulate urban and regional lands and housing standards to provide improved conditions, particularly in urban areas, he claimed.
The draft of the Act is nearly ready and it will be sent to the Sindh Law department for review before it is put to the floor of the house of elected representatives.
The Master Plan department is currently working under the control of the Sindh Building Control Authority. SBCA DG Zafar Ahsan confirmed that a meeting to finalise the Act was held with Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah in chair a few days back.
The Master Plan department was a part of Karachi Development Authority from 1957 to 2000. In 2001, the City District Government Karachi was established under Musharraf’s new Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2001. Under this ordinance, the Karachi Development Authority, Karachi Building Control Authority, Karachi Water & Sewerage Board and Master Plan Group of Offices were placed under the control of the CDGK.
But when the Pakistan People’s Party came to power in 2008, it restored the old Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979 and later changed it to introduce the Sindh Local Government Act 2013.
Under this law, the Sindh government placed the Master Plan department under the Sindh Building Control Authority, an anomaly as technically the Master Plan should tell the SBCA what to do and not the other way around.