“Ardeshire Cowasjee: The Clifton Cross : a complete mess”:http://dawn.com/weekly/cowas/20050424.htm
The Karachi Port Trust is building an underpass in the middle of the city. The quick summary is that KPT seemingly forgot to hire a road engineer and went on ahead with their plans. Secondly, the KPT has no business building underpasses in the middle of the city.
The Karachi Port Trust killed Karachi’s once thriving port by charging ridiculous port fees until its come to the point where only those ships come here which have to – nobody in their right mind would use the karachi port for things like refuellng, supplies etc. They’ve build up a ridiculous large chest of money by overcharging and under spending on what they should actually have been spending money, instead of building apartment and office complexes and flyovers. Imports have to come in somehow, so kpt was able to amass vast sums as it had a govt monopoly. The purpose of the kpt was not to amass vast sums of money, but to provide a functioning port, which it is still not doing so – it’s more expensive and ten times slower than any other decent port in the world.
The other question is: why why why is the KPT building goddamned underpasses and flyovers? And criminally designed ones to boot. This question bears repeating. Why does the KPT have so much money? It’s got nothing to do with predatory monopolistic practices at the expense of the rest of the country has it? By putting so many hassles in the way of business’s in effect the KPT acts as a brake on the economy. Historically, the port charges in Karachi have been the highest in the region, along with one of the largest manpower to tonnage ratio in the world. As a comparision,up to a few years ago the *port charges at Karachi were 20 times higher than Dubai!* The World Bank in the 90’s reported that Pakistani shippers pay an extra 15 billion rupees a year – costs which are wholly passed on to industry and consumers. Other studies have estimated even higher figures. Over the years, it adds up to hundreds of billions of rupees taken out of the economy – taking the money multiplier effect into account thats trillions of rupees over the years!
Anecdote: A foriegner was in Karachi for a few days for the recent textile exhibition. After taking one look at the clifton underpass he said in his country whoever designed that would be in jail in no time flat, and would be banned from all govt. contracts. Whoever approved that project would also be serving time alongside. He also could not understand why no work was going on there – for most of the time he passed by there were only a few people loitering around. For projects like these the work should go on 24/7. Labour is cheap in Pakistan, so he was doubly amazed as to why so few people were working on such a large project.
From the ‘Cowasjee article’:http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/cowas.htm, it basically seems like the corps commander (who lives very near the clifton underpass) wanted one built so one is being built – damn the design, and other minor issues like traffic planning and so on.
bq. Reportedly a proper three-level design was presented (underpass/at grade/overpass) allowing for an uninterrupted flow of traffic from and to all directions. This was rejected: the order was given ‘Present another design within 15 days.’ The new makeshift design, cheap and careless, allows for no right turns, it is totally inadequate, and it is doubtful that it would be approved even in a backward republic reversing towards the fourth world.
From the World Band & Pakistan government sponsered ‘TSDI: Transparent Sector Development Initiative’:http://www.pakroadusers.com/tsdi/tpgts.htm:
bq.. Trade facilitation does not occur anywhere near the level that it should. *Irreversible shipment delays and delays in receipts of goods are commonplace.*
Fractious, territorial disorganization impairs all aspects of operation. Little or no coordination exists between the services offered. Obsolete cargo equipment, ineffectual cargo management, unnecessary custom procedures and excessive lag-times before issuing cargo clearance are require urgent improvements to enable Pakistan to compete equitably in the international market place.
…PNSC and other ports & shipping organizations are over staffed and inefficient. Excessive and disruptive political interference strangles all aspects of operations. Nepotism and the lack of management and professionalism produce inferior quality services. Likewise, the lack of proper planning and absence of basic coordination with other transport sub-sectors give rise to prolonged delays while ship(s) wait to be berthed.
These problems leads to other numerous operational deficiencies and provide opportunities for pilferage. Issues like these create unnecessary losses that damage Pakistan’s economy.
p. _May 3, 05:_ A letter by Kafil A. Khan, Senior PRO, KPT in ‘Dawn’:http://www.dawn.com/2005/05/03/letted.htm#4:
bq.. APROPOS of Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee�s column �The Clifton Cross: a complete mess� (April 24), it is clarified that the KPT is contributing to the reconstruction of the road infrastructure in Karachi to ease the traffic problems. It has pledged to contribute Rs2.5 billion towards the rehabilitation and development of roads, bridges, flyovers, underpasses of the city. The development efforts are visible and will bear fruit soon and benefit Karachiites, in general, and residents of the Schon Circle area, in particular.
The KPT, through its consultants, had prepared different design options for Schon Circle. The existing design was implemented after the approval by the authorities concerned. As the right turns were taken by only a nominal percentage of traffic and any overpass would have ruined the facade of the commercial buildings around, the approving authorities had not agreed to an overpass. It was done in consonance with the demands of the shop owners of the area.
However, to address the concerns of the citizens of Karachi, the KPT is considering fresh options, one being a cloverleaf. It will provide right turns in all the four directions and also interconnect with the underpass at grade roads. Hopefully, this design will not detract from the aesthetic and commercial value of the Schon Circle area. The inconvenience faced by the people residing in the Schon Circle area is temporary and for a short period.
p. How can they start construction when the are considering a design change? Seems a waste of resources – it’s not like a lego set where one can knock it all down and rebuild over and over till it passes muster. I like it how they’re passing the blame onto the shop oweners, instead of the Nazim and Corps Commander – after all, they approved the designs, not the shop owners.
A new article by Cowasjee in Dawn on May 8, 2005: ‘Ardeshir Cowasjee: Clifton Cross: the deaf have heard’:http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/cowas.htm
A flyover there, an underpass here – billions are being spent on the road system though its a well understood fact now that the building never stops – the only solution is an effective mass transit system, or at the least some traffic planning instead of hit and run building without any regard to traffic flows and growth. With the advent of cheap fianancing, the number of vehicles on the road is growing at a tremondous rate – there is no way any major city in Pakistan _(except for Islamabad, but it is arguable whether it really is in Pakistan)_ can keep up. It’s the old saying: ‘One step forward, two steps backwards’.
_It would be interesting to see the KPT operational budget…_