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Karachi: DHA residents voice concern over

At the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) hearing of the Gizri Flyover Project, concerned quarters — including residents of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) — said that the hearing hardly serves any purpose in safeguarding the environment of the area concerned when three-fourth portion of the flyover project is already completed, and also raised several objections over the project

The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) organised the EIA hearing of the Gizri Flyover Project mainly in compliance with the orders of Sindh High Court.

The proponent of the project informed participants of the hearing that work on the flyover project has been progressing according to the amended design, and 0.8 to 0.9 kilometres of the 1.2 km long project has been completed. They added that further construction in underway, and it would also be completed according to the construction schedule.

The flyover project is located on Khayaban-e-Hafiz, one of the busiest roads in DHA, and starts from the Submarine Roundabout near PNS Haider and terminates at Zulfiqar Avenue in Phase-VIII after crossing Khayaban-e-Ittehad, the proponent added. They further said that approximately 44,000 vehicles enter or leave the DHA from the Submarine inter-section, and the majority of these vehicles pass through the Gizri Commercial Area to reach Khayaban-e-Hafiz. Heavy traffic volume and encroachments in the Gizri commercial area often creates a chaotic log-jam at this pivotal entry and exit point of the area. DHA, considering the current traffic congestion problem, started construction of the long flyover in order to facilitate the people, they added.

Participants of the hearing, including concerned DHA residents, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and environmentalists said that completion of the project would not only be a violation of the law, but also create problems of noise, privacy and parking space for the residents of the DHA area concerned.

They further said that the investment and funding affairs of the project were not transparent, while it is been carried out at a time when the DHA is facing serious financial constraints, especially after the construction of new infrastructure for storm water drainage in the area.

They said that not only such a hearing would have been held earlier to review and look after environment related issues of the project but also the residents of the area concerned should have been properly notified beforehand regarding the building of the flyover.

Participants added that had the authorities concerned completely enforced the regulation of no-parking for vehicles at the site, there had been no need to build the flyover, which resulted in the spending of a colossal sum of capital, and also generating concerns of the residents regarding the environment and their privacy.

DHA Senior Project Director Brig (retd) Iftikhar Haider, defending the flyover project, said that the project was envisaged and is being materialised solely for the purpose of ensuring the smooth flow of traffic on the major artery of the area, and alleviating other concerns of the area residents.

SEPA Director General Shakeel Ahmed Hashmi, who chaired the hearing also spoke.

Source: The News

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