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Saddar project delay irks commuters

KARACHI: Plan to development the historical Empress Market in Saddar area of the metropolis has been left high and dry due to lack of oversight by the concerned quarters. There were many approved plans remove encroachments around the original building of the Empress Market, reroute public transport buses from this area, make this locality only-for-pedestrians area, functionalize car parking plazas, renovate Jahangir Park, shifting of illegal bus stands, start a tram service and other such schemes; however, overall these plans are still to be implemented with full force and make this area a big tourist attraction in the city. Insiders say local police and municipal administration officials do not want to see these plans completed, as they would result in end to roadside encroachments, removal of vending stalls and illegal bus terminals which means loss of hundreds of thousands rupees of bribe, locally called Bhatta, every day. This is why that these projects are still not complete despite passage of years and even decades. However, citizens and civil society have been suggesting banning entry of all public transport vehicles in Saddar area up to Regal Chowk, and making it pedestrian free zone. Chaotic roadside vendors should be given a proper place to set up small kiosks or organized flea markets, remove all illegal constructions from the area, build overhead pedestrian bridges and remove illegal bus terminal near the nearby Taj Complex area, which has become a nuisance for this whole locality. Full utilization of the car parking plaza is only possible by making the whole area a no-parking zone, practically. In theory many streets of this area have already been declared ‘no-parking’ streets but practically corrupt traffic police cops patronize illegal parking there. However, making this area a pedestrian free zone would also boost shopping culture and help local shopkeepers earning huge profits. Citizens, commuters, motorists and pedestrians have been facing a lot of problems and they demand immediate start of all Saddar and Empress Market uplift projects, besides immediate shifting of the Taj Complex illegal bus terminal to the Superhighway as it is a big hurdle in smooth flow of traffic in this busy downtown residential and commercial area. —PPI

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