* President briefed on progress of Zulfikarabad city project

* Zardari directs launch of robust promotional campaign by holding road shows abroad

KARACHI: Site for the new proposed city Zulfikarabad in Thatta district has been identified and management consultants of the project will be appointed next month followed by inviting Expressions of Interest (EOI) from international firms early next year.

This was stated in a briefing given to President Asif Ali Zardari at the Bilawal House on Wednesday on the Zulfikarabad city project.

The briefing by former chief secretary of the province, Fazlur Rehman, who has been appointed as an adviser to the chief minister on special initiatives and also managing director of the new city project was attended by Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah, provincial ministers and senior federal and provincial officials.

Briefing journalists about the meeting, the president’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said the president also directed to launch a robust promotional campaign by holding road shows in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Europe to attract reputed international builders and consultants for the mega project. The road shows will be held by the Board of Investment and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) in association with Zulfikarabad city project, he said.

The meeting today was the fifth in the series held on the project ever since the idea was first mooted in August 2008 by the president, Babar said, adding that the new city would be located in Keti Bandar, Kharo Chan, Jati and Shahbander in Thatta district on both sides of River Indus.

Reiterating that the new city will not be a part of Greater Karachi, but entirely a new modern city in the province, the president also gave directions for speeding up implementation of the project to reduce congestion in the province’s main cities and to honour the memory of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The meeting was informed that a bill namely the Zulfikarabad Development Authority Bill 2010 had already been unanimously passed by the Sindh Assembly last month.

The president directed that main feature of the project should be to first convert useless state land into a productive asset rather than utilising the already productive land. He also advised that computer graphics of an artist’s view of the new city be prepared and uploaded on the project’s website. “The new city is absolutely essential to relieve pressure of national and international migrants on the two main cities of Karachi and Hyderabad which has strained their infrastructure,” the president remarked during the briefing.

Besides having the latest infrastructure and facilities the new city should have provision for growth and expansion for the next over a century, he said.

“Provision should also be made in the new city for industrial, electronic and science parks to boost employment and skills of the people and provide them economic opportunities that have eluded them for decades,” Babar quoted Zardari as saying.

Babar said the second meeting held in Bilawal House to review the progress on the monitoring of development projects was informed that fourteen different projects had been selected for satellite monitoring. These projects include new dams to be built in the province, the N-9 highway and some sections of RBOD. The daily progress, materials quality and the specifications followed will be monitored through satellite imaging that will reduce corruption and delays and enhance transparency, he said.

Source: Daily Times