KMC building four flyovers without Sepa approval

KARACHI, Dec 23: The work on five flyovers — one on Sharea Faisal and four on Shahrah-i-Pakistan — being constructed by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) is under way in full swing and expected to be completed within next three months, officials said.

However, sources told Dawn that the construction work on the four flyovers being constructed on the Shahrah-i-Pakistan was illegal as the civic agency had not yet obtained an approval of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) from the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), which was mandatory and had to be obtained before starting a work on any project.

Attending a review meeting on flyovers on Sunday, KMC administrator Mohammad Hussain Syed said that the 570 meter long Jinnah terminal flyover being constructed on Sharea Faisal would be completed by the end of next month while the four flyovers being constructed on the Shahrah-i-Pakistan would be completed by March.

He said that flyovers at Malir-15 and Kala Board would be constructed to make Sharea Faisal signal free for which Rs24 million was reserved in the budget.

He said that the construction work on Mehran Hotel underpass and Shaheen Complex flyover would also be started soon.

The sources told Dawn that the work on the four Shahrah-i-Pakistan flyovers was being carried out illegally as Sepa had not yet approved the EIA of the project.

They said that the KMC had not yet submitted the EIA report with Sepa, which after evaluating it and holding a public hearing could take a decision on it.

They said that the KMC had started the work and it was only after the media had highlighted the issue that the KMC was carrying out illegal construction without the Sepa approval that the Sepa issued notices to the KMC to get the approval and the KMC hired a consultant to carry out the EIA study, which was still under way.
The sources claimed that Sepa had also not taken any action against the KMC for starting the illegal work and had it been some private concern, stern action would have been initiated by the provincial environment watchdog.

They alleged that the KMC seeing that Sepa had not taken any action against it had become bold and continuing to carry out the illegal work. The sources said that the government lost moral authority when it did not take action against government organisations carrying out illegal work, but took stern action against the private sector when they indulged in wrong practices.