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LYARI EXPRESSWAY Citizen’s Concerns and Community Opposition Urban Resource Centre (URC) 3/48 St. No. 6, Moulimabad Khalid Bin Walid Road Opp. Shaheed-e-Millat Road Karachi – 74800 PAKISTAN E-mail: [email protected]. net. pk Web site: www. urckarach. org
History of the project The Lyari Expressway, being built along the banks of the Lyari River in Karachi, has been the subject of controversy since it was conceived in 1986. Due to the controversy its design has been changed many times and it has even been shelved, at least twice. Communities, NGOs and academics have opposed it for various environmental, urban planning, human and housing rights violation related reasons. This documentation presents the Lyari Expressway story and the concerns that Karachi’s civil society has regarding the project.
• Northern and Southern Bypasses were proposed by the Karachi Master Plan 1975 -85. They were to be built so as to enable all port related traffic to bypass the city. • The Southern Bypass could not be built because of opposition from the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) through which its alignment passed. The DHA was rightfully concerned about the environmental pollution that the Expressway would cause. • The Northern Bypass was not built because of a lack of political will. • In 1978 heavy rains caused flooding in Karachi, especially in the Lyari Corridor resulting in loss of life and property. • As a result WAPDA prepared a flood protection plan for the Lyari River belt. This was also not implemented. • In 1986 a group of public-spirited citizens proposed the Lyari Expressway as an alternative to the Northern Bypass.
• A government study found the construction of the Lyari Expressway unfeasible along the banks since one hundred thousand people living along its banks would have to be evicted as a result of its construction. • In 1989 the KDA involved the Canadian International Development Authority (CIDA) in the Lyari Expressway project. • CIDA proposed an elevated corridor (on columns) in the middle of the river as the most feasible option. Its cost was Rs 6 billion. • In July-August 1993 heavy rains flooded the Lyari River and Malir River. • As a result, Lyari Expressway was thought of as a solution for flood protection and also generating funds through a toll for cost recovery. • The skyway project however remained unaffected. • URC and other NGOs objected to the skyway proposal and the Expressway on the banks as the former would cause environmental degradation both in terms of noise and air pollution and aesthetics and the latter would also displace over 25, 000 families. • URC and other NGOs: • Held forums to explain their point of view to the Lyari Corridor communities.
• Arranged a visit of the Canadian journalist, John Stackhouse to the Expressway site. • Provided information to the effectees who lobbied against the project with their elected MNAs and MPAs and government officials. • Provided the Canadian Embassy with documentation of their concerns and community opposition. • CIDA backed out and the skyway proposal was shelved. • In 1994 the KMC decided to build the Expressway on either side of the River on BOT basis. • The Expressway was to be from Mauripur to Sohrab Goth and its cost was Rs 720 million. • The Expressway was to pass underneath the 12 existing bridges on the river. • 8, 000 encroachments were removed for its construction. • The design was modified after FWO involvement. As a result, the underpasses were abandoned for bridges over the existing bridges and the cost increased to Rs 3, 200 million. • An Abu Dhabi consortium was contacted to build the Expressway on a BOO basis.
• Citizens, NGO and community opposition to the project led to public hearings arranged by the senior minister of the Sindh government in 1996. • As a result of the hearings, it was decided to build the Northern Bypass and not the Lyari Expressway. • In 2000 the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) finalized the proposal for building the Northern Bypass on BOT basis. The Bypass was – A six-lane highway of 68 kilometers length; – It joined the Super Highway well beyond the Toll Plaza near the Mol River.
• In June 2001 the government decided to build both the Northern Bypass and the Lyari Expressway within the Northern Bypass budget. • To make this possible, the Bypass alignment was changed and reduced in length. It now joins the Super Highway just beyond Sohrab Goth. Its six lanes were reduced to four. • National Highway Authority was entrusted with the construction of the Expressway and Rs 5. 1 billion were allocated for this construction.
The NHA’s Expressway Proposal 2001 • Lyari expressway is a 16. 5 kilometres long three-lane road along both banks of the Lyari River, starting from Mauripur and ending at Sohrab Goth. • There are 16 overpasses and the Expressway is designed for 30, 000 vehicles per day. • Construction cost is Rs 5. 1 billion and the cost of evictee resettlement is Rs 2. 1 billion. • Completion time for the project is 36 months, subject to availability of encroachment free corridor. • Evictee resettlement consists of providing a plot of 80 square yards in Hawkes Bay, Taiser Town and Baldia for each demolished housing unit plus Rs 50, 000 cash. Justification for project – Easing of traffic flow within the city. – Removing people from the flood zone to safer locations.
Citizen’s and Community Concerns
Concern One: City Level Planning Issues • The Expressway project is not a part of a larger city planning exercise. There are cheaper and easier methods of easing traffic flow in Karachi that have been proposed repeatedly by the Traffic Engineering Bureau (TEB) and professionals. • Less than half of the affectees are living in the riverbed or in areas prone to flooding. • The building of an Expressway is not required to provide protection to them or for the process of relocating them. • The building of the Expressway does not solve the major environmental problems of the city or of the areas it passes through.
• The area between M. A. Jinnah Road (to the South of the Lyari River) and Estate Avenue (to the North of the Lyari River) consists of the most congested and environmentally polluted settlements of Karachi. • This area originally contained Karachi’s wholesale markets and small scale manufacturing along with residential areas.
• Over the years these markets and manufacturing units have expanded to occupy almost the entire area. In addition, garbage recycling units have developed and continue to expand. • Manufacturing and wholesaling has led to the creation of huge storage areas required for these activities, a transport related services sector and informal cargo terminals. This has further congested and polluted the area.
• Due to a lack of alternatives the garbage recycling and sorting activity has spilled onto the Lyari bed and banks and people working in this activity have started residing here.
• The main wholesaling activity is related to the Dhan Mandi, Chemical Market and Metal Market. Since they have no space for warehousing left, they are finding warehousing space in various katchi abadis. This is adding to the city’s environmental, social and traffic related problems.
• Because of the warehousing and transport activities the population of this area has severe health problems. Last year six children died because of leakage from the chemicals stored at the Chemical Market.
• Residents of the Lyari and trans-Lyari settlements have constantly asked various governments to shift manufacturing and warehousing from their areas. This will remove the transport activities as well. The spaces vacated by these activities can provide space for badly needed amenities in the congested settlements. • Between Lyari River and M. A. Jinnah Road Karachi’s built heritage is located. It is fast disappearing and being replaced by illegally built warehousing and run down worker’s accommodation. • Flood control as per WAPDA’s proposal of 1978, would reclaim a considerable amount of land along the river. This could be developed, as badly needed open spaces for the trans-Lyari settlements.
• The Lyari Expressway does not help in resolving these issues. On the contrary the manufacturing units, businesses and houses demolished by it are finding alternative space in the already congested inner city. • The fundamental question is: Does the city require an Expressway or does the inner city require open spaces and shifting of wholesale markets, manufacturing, garbage recycling and related cargo and transport services to the Northern Bypass? • Will this such shifting negate all justification for the building of the Expressway? • Is this a priority project? It is costing Rs 8. 2 billion. With this sum the revitalization of the KCR would have taken place and/or a traffic management plan could have been developed and implemented bringing relief to the entire city.
Concern Two: Environmental Issues • If the Expressway is going to be used for heavy port related traffic: 1. It will cause severe environmental pollution and hence degradation along the densely populated Lyari Corridor. 2. This degradation will lead to down market land-use changes and the expansion of industrial, storage and transport related activities which are inappropriate and should be shifted from the inner city. 3. Surveys show that since heavy port related traffic started to operate on Khayaban-e-Sadi and Sunset Boulevard, trees along these roads have died and the occurrence of disease has increased. • The curtailing of the Northern Bypass for financing the Expressway has led to the Bypass and the Expressway beginning and ending at approximately the same place. This will cause considerable congestion at Sohrab Goth, the main outlet to the city.
• It will also considerably restrict the area to be opened up for the expansion of the city’s expanding wholesaling, storage and port related activities. • If the Expressway is to be used only for intra-city traffic, major landuse changes will occur along the corridor as there will be a sharp increase in land values and may lead to the eviction of a large number of old settlements. The residents of the trans-Lyari settlements are aware and afraid of this. • This will result in the further densification of the corridor for which services such as water, sewage, electricity are simply not available. • The Expressway plans do not include a master plan for the corridor or an indication for a proposed land-use plan. • The Expressway is designed as a roller coaster along the riverbanks. Its height varies from eight feet to twenty-seven feet above the banks. As such, it will consist of two walls on either side, dividing the city, with 12 gates (where the existing bridges are) linking it. Therefore, in social and aesthetic terms, it is undesirable.
Concern Three: Destruction of Homes and Businesses • Less than half of the effected housing units are in the flood zone or in the riverbed. • According to government estimates, the following demolitions will take place. 1. Housing units 13, 531 2. Commercial and manufacturing units 1, 222 3. Mosques, churches, graveyards, temples 58 • According to URC and community surveys, the number of housing units being demolished is 25, 400. • The schooling of 26, 000 students will be discontinued and about 40, 000 wage owners will loose their jobs. Almost all these persons work in the neighborhood wholesale markets and manufacturing units. • Residents and local government have invested Rs 5 billion in building homes, schools, social sector facilities, acquiring infrastructure connections (water, electricity, telephone, gas). All this will be demolished in an age of recession, unemployment and inflation.
• Less than half of the affectees live within the flood plain of the Expressway as identified by the WAPDA study of 1978. The rest are not in an endangered zone so there is no justification for shifting them. • There are different types of settlements along the Lyari River. These are: 1. Old villages, some dating back to the early 19 th century such as Hasan Aulia, Ilyas Goth, Angara Goth, Gauhar Abad, Jahan Abad. They have built their homes, infrastructure and community facilities. 2. Regularised katchi abadis who have also built their homes and infrastructure, such as, Mianwali Colony, Liaqatabad, PIB Colony, Gharib Nawaz Colony, Muslim Abad, farooq Abad.
Abadis marked for regularization such as Haji Murid Goth, Muslimabad, Madina Colony. Squatter settlements in the river bed such as Peoples Colony, Mohammadi Lane, Iqbal Colony.
• The Lyari Expressway proposal does not differentiate between these settlements although many of them constitute areas where Karachi began as a city and in which the original inhabitants of the city still live. It is felt that these settlements should be treated as cultural heritage. • The scale of destruction of settled communities for the implementation of a road project is unparalleled in the history of urban development.
Concern Four: The Expressway and Government Laws and Commitments • The Expressway project is violating a number of Pakistan laws and their procedures and government commitments. These include: 1. The Global Plan of Action of UN Habitat II, 1996. The plan is against forced evictions and demolitions. The government of Pakistan is a signatory to the Plan. 2. Section 12 of the Pakistan Environmental Act 1997. The Act binds any proponent of a project to submit an environmental impact assessment when a project is likely to cause an adverse environmental effect and on the basis of this seek approval (or modification of the plan) from the relevant federal authority. This is not being done in the case of the Lyari Expressway. • Land can only be acquired from leased settlements through the Land Acquisition Act and its well-laid out procedures. These procedures are not being followed and leased homes have also been demolished. • The demolition process has resulted in the death of a 14 year old boy and according to the communities about a dozen men and women have died of heart failure when the demolition of their houses began. No action has been taken against those who were responsible for the death of the boy on whom his house collapsed during the bulldozing process.
Concern Five: The Resettlement Plan is flawed • The resettlement plan does not differentiate between old villages, leased settlements and informal occupation of land for residential purposes. • The commercial and manufacturing units that provide direct employment to about 40, 000 wage earners are being demolished without compensation or support for relocation.
• The persons working in these units are being displaced and offered 80 square yards plots in locations far from their places of existing and potential work. • The government has not made a list of the affectees. Under law it is obligatory for the concerned authority to publish a notification of the effected people. • The survey for listing is carried out in bits and pieces, as areas for demolition are periodically determined. This causes immense mental stress to the effected families. • These periodic listing are carried out with the involvement of Councillors, Nazims and government officials but without consultation with community organizations and groups. Hence they lack transparency. • Such lists are made three days prior to demolition.
˚ There is no social and physical infrastructure at the relocation sites and no employment either. ˚ Rs 50, 000 compensation is simply not enough to build a home. This money is consumed in transportation and in hiring a place to survive between demolition and considering the construction of a house in the relocation settlement.
• As a result, only 296 houses have been constructed at the Hawkes Bay relocation site and 824 are under-construction whereas 2, 271 parchis for allotments have been issued. • The allotment parchis are much less than the 3, 500 housing units which have been demolished. • Surveys by the URC show that people who have not moved to the relocation sites have hired homes on rent at Rs 1, 500 – Rs 3, 000 in the trans-Lyari settlements so as to be near their places of work. • The demolished commercial and manufacturing establishments have done the same. • The resettlement plan is therefore basically flawed since 1. It violates government laws and procedures; 1. Increases poverty and unemployment; 1. Destroys well-established communities who have a historic claim to the land of their ancestors; 1. Densities already dense and environmentally degraded areas of the city.
• A study on the subject by LUMS students shows that; 1. The interests of the communities vary considerably. Those without leases demand compensation as a result of demolition of their property whereas those with lease want the demolitions to be stopped altogether. 1. Individual households and not communities have been relocated and as such community links have been destroyed. 1. Households have been devastated in social and economic terms due to i. iii. iv. Unemployment (especially of women), Absence of schooling for children, Exorbitant costs and time increase to and from work. Unbearable costs of house construction.
Concern Six: The Absence of Consultations • The Lyari Expressway project at the conceptual stage should have been presented for consultations with the effected communities, concerned professionals, relevant academic institutions, NGOs and other civil society organizations. • All attempts made by interest groups in initiating a meaningful dialogue with the NHA or with the district and provincial establishments have failed. • The project has not been approved by the National and Provincial assemblies or by the City Council. • Consultations are important because Karachi has a long list of failed development projects, which have damaged the city. • Professionals, NGOs and concerned citizens had pointed out the shortcomings of these projects when their details were published in the press. • Their reservations were invariably ignored.
• These projects include: 1. Metrovilles: After the failure of two, the program was discontinued. 2. Lines Area Redevelopment Project: It was pointed out that the project would turn the area into a social and physical slum. The then military government refused consultations on the subject.
3. Greater Karachi Sewerage Plan: It was pointed out that the treatment plants would not receive sewage. Result, Karachi’ sewage problems remain and the KWSB is in debt to a tune of Rs 42 billion. 4. The ADB funded Baldia Sewage Project: It was pointed out that the project was replicating an existing system and would not become operative. It was an enormous waste of loan money. 5. Concerns were also voiced regarding the Karachi Development Plan 2000, the KMTP, Gulshan Flyovers. Time has proved that those concerns were all too valid. • Keeping the above in view, a system of stakeholder consultation should be established for the Lyari Expressway and for all other future projects for Karachi. • Numerous articles and TV films have been made on the Lyari Expressway Project. They have all supported the communities’ point of view and expressed concern over human and housing rights violations that are being carried out by the Expressway Project.
Alternative Proposed by the URC • With the building of the Northern Bypass for carrying port related traffic, there is no need for building the Lyari Expressway. • A master plan for the areas opened up by the Northern Bypass should be prepared. The plan should 1. Negotiate the shifting of Dhan Mandi, Chemical Market, Metal Market and the labour working for them to the Northern Bypass. 2. Negotiate the shifting of the recycling and garbage sorting yards (and the labour working for them) from the old city and the Lyari Corridor to landfill sites. Studies for this are already available with the URC. 3. A proper resettlement master plan for people living below the flood line of the Lyari River should be prepared through consultations with the effected communities and their nominated “experts”. • The river should be dredged and channelised according to the recommendations of the 1978 WAPDA study and embankments should be built on either side. • All land vacated by the transfer of wholesaling, manufacturing and related activities and all land acquired by channelising the river, should be used for building badly needed amenities for the trans-Lyari settlements and the Old Town, Sarai and Jail Quarters. • The Northern Bypass is being built without formally planned development for it. As a result, encroachments have started developing on it.
• To reduce traffic congestion, emphasis should be placed on: 1. Revival of KCR. 2. Building of inter-city and intra-city transport terminals, workshops and depots.
3. Development and implementation of a traffic plan for the city. 4. Reorganization of Saddar and the Lea Market area.
Alternative Proposed by Prof. Engg. Shaoib Ismail • Prof. Shoaib Ismail is the Principal of the Planning Engineering and Services. • He has proposed an alternative to the Expressway. • His design is based on the WAPDA study of 1978 and it 1. Reduces the number of effected families to less than one quarter of those being effected by the NHA proposal. 2. Saves Rs 2. 1 billion on account of compensation alone; and Rs I billion on account of adoption of local feasible construction techniques.
Consensus between the Two Alternatives • Although the URC opposes the building of an Expressway and the Shoaib Ismail proposal presents an alternative to it, the two sides agree on the following: 1. Before deciding on a future plan for the Expressway, consultations between government representatives, NGOs, CBOs of Lyari settlements, relevant academic and other stakeholders must be held and a consensus reached between them. 2. The 1978 WAPDA flood control study should be made the basis of all future planning. 3. All settlements and commercial and industrial units in the flood zone should be removed. 4. A proper relocation plan following Pakistan laws and their procedures should be developed for the affectees and for the effected commercial and manufacturing units.
Community Opposition to the Expressway
• Lyari communities have voiced their opposition to the Expressway in a very organized manner and without violence in spite of the fact that they have been subjected to violence. • This shows their high level of organization, community sense, responsibility and awareness. • The communities have reacted by filing cases in the Sindh High Court against illegal demolitions and attending the court proceedings in large numbers. • The Sindh High Court has stayed demolitions of leased settlements. • The communities have collected Rs 3 million for litigation purposes.
• They have held a people’s assembly in which 3000 men, women and children from various settlements of effected areas of Lyari Corridor gathered to protest against the project. • They have organized eight All Party Conferences where representatives of political parties have been invited to discuss the issues related to demolitions and evictions. All representatives in these conferences have supported the effected communities.
• They have received journalists, concerned citizens and NGO representatives in their settlements and explained their problems to them. • They have held peaceful demonstrations. • They have contacted UN habitat related organizations that have arranged for the sending of a Fact. Finding Mission from the Banqkock based Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR). The Mission has supported the point of view of the effected communities.
• Over a thousand international human rights and housing rights organization from all over the world have sent letters of concern to the President of Pakistan. • They have identified engineering and planning experts to represent them in consultations with the government for review of the project if and when the proposal for such a review is accepted by the government. Meanwhile the government: • Has refused to hold meaningful negotiations with the opponents of the Expressway or to address their concerns. • On 20 March 2002, the City Nazim invited the NGOs and communities for talks. He promised that: 1. The city government will provide all details (including plans), feasibility studies, estimates and environmental assessments to the community leaders. 2. A list of effected families will be published. 3. A committee of experts will be formed to review the projects.
• None of the above happened. • When the President of Pakistan inaugurated the Lyari Expressway in an unscheduled ceremony late at night on 27 April 2002, black flags and banners were hoisted all along the river in protest. • In May 2002, government halted demolitions and in collaboration with the communities formed a nine-member expert committee to review the project. • On 27 June 2002, demolitions restarted and the nine-member committee was never consulted or convened. • On September 03, 2002, in a meeting the generals showed satisfaction over the progress of work on the Expressway. • Such meetings are called every three months in the Governor House in which, community representatives, civil society organizations and affectees are not invited; only NHA and government officials are present.
Role of NGOs in support of the People’s Movement against the Expressway
Role of Action Committee for Civic Problems (ACCP) • ACCP is a coalition of NGOs, professional bodies (bar association, journalist association), CBOs and individual citizens. It is working on civic issues, law and order, education and transport issues. • Role of ACCP on Lyari Expressway 1. Mobilizes the communities for protection of housing rights 2. Holds regular meetings in each settlement under threat 3. Holds combined meetings in various settlements of the effectees 4. Assists communities in their legal battles 5. Establishes contact between politicians and communities 6. Holds press conferences on particular issues regarding housing rights 7. Organizes APC, people’s assembly and demonstrations.
Role of Urban Resource Centre (URC) • The URC initiated the Expressway debate and has been involved in monitoring developments and commenting on them in the media and through forums since 1990. • It has arranged visits of journalists to the Expressway sites and provided information to the effectees regarding the project since 1993. • It provided information to the Canadian Embassy regarding the adverse effects of the Expressway since CIDA was supporting the project. • It provided documents on national and international laws on housing rights and katchi abadis to the lawyers representing the effected communities in the courts of law. • On 26 February 2002, arranged a tour of journalists and concerned citizens to the effected communities. Articles against the Expressway and against the violation of human and housing rights appeared in the press. • On 27 February 2002, sent a letter to the President of Pakistan regarding its concerns over the building of the Expressway. Copies of the letter were sent to all relevant federal, provincial and district agencies. No reply to this letter has been received so far.
Role of Urban Resource Centre (URC) • On February 28, 2002, made the first of many visits to the resettlement sites and highlighted their problems through forums and press releases. • Published booklets on the Expressway issue (both in Urdu and English) and distributed them among the effected communities, NGOs, government officials and the media. • Distributed documentary films made by MANDUCK for Indus Television; Geo Television and Action Aid to communities, donors and national and international NGOs. • In July 2002, the URC again initiated a letter writing campaign and sent its concerns to NGOs, UN agencies, civil society organizations all over the world. • As a result, on July 17, 2002, the UN took serious notice of the violations of human rights in the Lyari Expressway and intervened. In its letter to the President, it severely criticized the project. • Over a thousand other international human rights and housing rights organization from all over the world sent letters of concern to the President of Pakistan.
Role of Urban Resource Centre (URC) • In February 2003, a Fact-Finding Mission of the ACHR visited the Expressway site and reported major housing rights violations. • URC has again initiated a letter writing campaign to the President, Prime Minister and the Governor of Sindh regarding its concerns. • Assisted ACCP in providing support to the effected communities and arranging All Party Conferences, People’s Assemblies, public meetings and discussions, press conferences and demonstrations and rallies against the Expressway project.