Lack of infrastructure, utilities impeding new housing projects in Karachi: Habib

Javed MirzaWeb Editor

03rd Jul, 2021. 04:43 pm
Lack of infrastructure, utilities impeding new housing projects in Karachi: Habib

KARACHI: The rise in the cost of construction seems to be a non-issue, however, the absence of proper infrastructure and scarcity of utilities are the biggest challenges being faced by the property developers.

Samad Habib, chief executive officer (CEO) of Javedan Corporation, said that the unavailability of infrastructure and shortage of utilities were obstructing new housing projects in Karachi.

“There is a severe shortage of gas and water and the situation would get even worse, going forward,” Habib said, adding that such a situation was preventing expansion in the city.

Javedan Corporation is developing the Naya Nazimabad housing project around the famous Manghopir Lake.

Talking about the rising cost of construction, Habib said that cement and steel were the primary raw materials, and the prices of these two commodities had been rising in the local, as well as international markets.

“Although the cost of construction has increased considerably, unfortunately it did not affect the demand. Developers and builders were able to sell their inventories, as usual.”

The Javedan Corporation CEO said water shortage was more of a management issue.

“Enough water is available to meet the demand, but inefficient and improper distribution created the shortage of water.”

He said Naya Nazimabad had taken the initiative and was setting up a water recycling plant, as well as a rainwater reservoir to ensure maximum utilisation of the precious resource.

Naya Nazimabad is also installing a large-scale reverse osmosis (RO) plant to utilise the sub-soil water as an alternative arrangement.

“Since indigenous gas reserves are depleting, the country is becoming more and more dependent on imported LNG [liquefied natural gas], which is expensive and there are always supply constraints,” Habib added.

Residents at a large number of vertical housing projects in the city are braving unavailability of water and gas, buying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), while the only other option for them is to buy unfiltered water from the private water tanker operators, who fill up at a network of legal and illegal water hydrants across the city.

Karachi draws its water mainly from the Keenjhar Lake, a man-made reservoir about 150km from the city, which, in turn, gets the water from what’s left of the River Indus after it completes its winding 3,200km journey through Pakistan.

Through a network of canals and conduits, 550 million gallons of water a day is fed in the city’s main pumping station at Dhabeji. That 550MGD; however, never reaches those in need. Of that water, a staggering portion is either lost or stolen before it ever reaches the consumers.

Karachi has expanded in a largely unplanned fashion over the last several decades. The city has grown too much, and the system has not been able to bear it; therefore, horizontal expansion is direly needed, and the authorities need to provide the basic infrastructure and utilities to facilitate builders and developers, he added.

In April last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced incentives for the construction sector, amid the coronavirus outbreak. The prime minister said the government was ensuring that the construction sector was given industry status and announced the formation of the Construction Industry Development Board, an institution to promote the industry in Pakistan.

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