Briefing on village projects

Lahore—Secretary Livestock and Dairy Development, Muhammad Irfan Elahi, has visited the Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development Board (PLDDB).

The Chief Executive of PLDDB, Major. General (R) Muhammad Ali Khan, briefed the secretary in detail on activities of the board.

Informing about its projects aimed at upliftment of rural youths, the chief executive said in the first and second phase 286 youths were working as artificial insemination assistants while 286 women were working as livestock extension workers who belonged to Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Narowal, Bhakkar, Sialkot and Mianwali districts.

He said that all of them were now working in the field after training from PLDDB.—APP

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Property: Housing scheme declared illegal

LAHORE: Lahore Development Authority has restrained people from purchasing plots in what they termed as an illegal housing scheme next to Sultan Town, off Raiwind Road in Niaz Baig village.

An LDA spokesman said that some groups were selling plots in the illegal sub-division near the University of Lahore. He said this scheme did not have LDA approval.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012. Continue reading

Punjab approves 11 schemes of Rs9.73b

LAHORE – The Punjab government has approved eleven schemes with an estimated cost of Rs9.73 billion.

The approval was given in the 06th meeting of the Provincial Development working Party of current financial year 2012-13 presided over by Planning and Development Board Chairman, JavaidAslam.

The approved schemes include Water Resource Development through Construction of 200 Mini Dams along with Command Area Development in Pothohar Region Barani Areas of Punjab at the cost of Rs11.110 billion, Strengthening of BMP in District Rajanpur at the cost of Rs. 210.702 million, Rehabilitation of ThokarNiazBaig to Raiwind Road from km No.1.00 to 6.00 District Lahore (L=6 km) at the cost of Rs. 221.992 million, Widening / Improvement of road from MisriMorr to Khewra via P.D Khan length 52.78 km District Jhelum at the cost of Rs. 1021.332 million, Construction of Road & High Level Bridge length=900rft, between District Mianwali and Jand (District Attock) length of approach 6.50 Km on Attock side & 28.95 km on Mianwali side at the cost of Rs. 739.957 million,

Construction of Flyover at 6th Road Junction along Murree Road, Rawalpindi at the cost of Rs. 1042.208 million, Dualization of T.H.A.T. Road from JahanianChowk to Hattian via Motorway Interchange, length = 17.6 Km in District Attock at the cost of Rs. 703.922 million, Construction of Flyover Overhead Bridge at ShahbazChowkVehari Road Multan at the cost of Rs. 645.920 million, Widening and Improvement of Tibba Sultan Pur to Luddan Road via Mitroo from Km 9.35 to 43.40 & 44.80 To 65.25 length: 54.50 Km in District Vehari at the cost ofRs. 854.015 million,Widening / Improvement of ChishtianDahranwala –Fort Abbas Road length:43.25 Km, District Bahawalnagar at the cost ofRs.544.516 million andDualization of Hasilpur-Bahawalpur Road (Widening/Improvement of Hasilpur-Bahawalpur Road (length 76.43km) i/c Dualization in built up area length 11.59, length 88.63km District Bahawalpur at the cost of Rs.2634.756 million. Continue reading

Businessmen donate Rs18m to SKMCH

KARACHI - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan has announced that a Shaukat Khanum like hospital would also be establishment in Karachi.

While addressing a fund raising dinner hosted by Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital (SKH) in honor of business community’s representatives led by S M Muneer and Mian Zahid Hussain at a local hotel on Thursday, Imran said that non-availability of land in Karachi was the major cause of delay in construction of a world class hospital with modern equipment for the diagnosis of cancer. He said that his party was in quest to build a new Pakistan and for this purpose an alliance could be made with other parties. He said that only 200 honest and capable persons could change fate of the country.

While commenting on the present government’s performance, Imran said that bearing a person like Zardari was a sure evidence of Pakistan’s strength. “USA would have gone bankrupt if Zardari was ruling there,” he said. He condemned the campaign against SKH by some individuals and said that he had already gone to the court to settle the matter. He said that PML-N’s purpose to launch this campaign in the month of Ramazan was to disturb the fund raisings of the hospital. He said that if the hospital was closed, the poor of this country would be badly affected.

Imran offered the stakeholders and donors to inspect the audited accounts of the hospital. “SKH board has created Continue reading

Planned urbanisation: Can rowdy cities like Karachi be tamed?

BELLAGIO / KARACHI

What makes our cities and what drives them? Should they be meticulously planned or should there be room for amorphous growth? Is there a science behind urbanisation?

Joan Clos, executive director of the United Nations Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, believes there is.

According to Clos, the stages of a city’s growth are marked by ‘drivers of urbanisation’ – land prices, infrastructure and public spaces. Control them, and you can plan your cities.

In a way then, cities are perhaps like children. You have to catch them when they’re young before they get out of control. And if one would use this analogy, Karachi, today, would be a rowdy teenager.

Growth stages

Speaking via video conference to a group of 31 urbanists, CEOs and academics on the first day of the Urban Land Institute and Citistates Bellagio Summit 2012, Clos said the first driver of urbanisation is land prices.

“We see that the form that the city takes is when per capita GDP is between $0 and $2,000,” he said, referring to the first phase. Urbanisation takes place where land is more affordable while expensive land remains dormant for speculation in the future.

The second driver is infrastructure – when cars, roads and motorways become more important. This phase begins to emerge when per capita income is roughly between $700 and $900.

“When you see infrastructure-driven growth, you see a form of urbanisation that generates a huge demand for mobility,” Clos said. This could be where a city like Karachi is located today. Pakistan’s per capita income is about $1,200.

Later, when a society becomes more complex, the third phase of urbanisation takes place in which the city plans for public space.

How cities actually grow

However, that is not how cities usually grow.

“When [cities] reach income levels of about $2,500 per capita, they need to then spend a huge amount of money to redesign the city because finally there is discovery of the fact that pathological organisation doesn’t provide the results of proper urbanisation.”

The city grows where land is cheap and this is not necessarily the best way to organise it.

“Whenever you have proper urban planning, we know that the percentage of land we allocate to green areas and parks is about 45% to 50%,” he said. Sadly, today cities usually have just 10% of land set aside for parks and 30% for roads.

Conflict of interest

Governments thus need to be very clear on the legal limitation of what is buildable in a city, and what comprises common space.

Proper urbanisation requires a high level of governance, ie, capacity to address conflict of interest. In urbanisation, you work with a lot of local interests, which are mostly contradictory.

Governments need a simple 20-page national urban policy on a set of basic principles; where are our people living today, how many cities and types do we have and what is the plan to drive urbanisation in the next 20 to 25 years, Clos said.

“Don’t do zoning, don’t do master planning. The important thing is to delineate common space and buildable space. The rest you will do later.”

Counter arguments

Other participants at the forum argued that in the initial phase, cities tend to grow in the right place and good locations but subsequently the price of land tends to make it grow in the wrong place.

Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogota, argued that all land should be state-owned so that land value does not distort urbanisation.  His argument was buttressed by the example of the Singapore. The CEO of its Housing Development Board, Dr Koon Hean Cheong, pointed out that they were able to tackle their public housing problems because Singapore controls all the land.

South African expert Christine Platt said there is a stage that comes before planning that needs to be factored in. When people come from rural areas, they can’t necessarily afford planned areas, and therefore settle on the peripheries of planned towns.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2012.

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