I was just hearing an interview being given by our ex-Nazim (Mayor) Mustafa Kamal, where he was busy dissing the Planning of Defence Housing Authority (D.H.A.) He shared his views about the lack of sensitivity that went into the designing of this Housing Scheme, about how they hadn’t considered the importance of Service Lanes, and thus the lack of them that can be seen in the area.
I agree with him one hundred percent. Defence is one hosh-posh, spoils for the riches, made up of new money, and is considered the ultimate Status symbol to be living there. But there is a whole different side to it too! Despite being the most richest area in the city, some of the basic necessities are missing from the very urban fabric of this society. Lets consider a few.
- No Service Roads: There are for real no Service roads in Defence, except for Defence phase 1 and 2, which were designed much better, and much before we saw the likes of Defence phase 5 and 8. The lack of Service roads is true for all main roads of this new Defence.
- The Lack of Proper Roads: Major roads in Defence have been designed as two lanes, while the main roads are 3 lanes. This usually means that the residents of very expensive houses, in their very expensive cars reverse towards the main road, where they block the traffic for several minutes, depending on the skills of the driver.
- No Rain-water drains: Defence was deigned without any consideration for this basic requirement. It is as if the designers completely ignored the fact that climate has to be considered when designing. The result was that after every monsoon rains the roads of Defence used to look like River Thames (no exaggeration). The water used to stand for days and then even rot, and in cases where the road level has gone above the houses, the reversal of flow also used to take place. In the recent years therefore, they have realized the errors of their ways and the drains have been developed. But due to the lack of service roads or roads for that matter, the entire roads have been converted into covered drains. A drive down any road in Defence is a treat for your shock absorbers.
Despite the finger-pointing that has been done by the ex-nazim, it doesn’t however mean that he has been a considerate city planer. The Nazim did something much worse. He demolished the Service Roads in most of the areas of the city during his street widening program. The result now is that the road side shops have no break from the main roads. There is no buffer left. This has simply resulted in the destruction of the environment of most of the road side cafe, tea shops, pan shops and the likes of it.
So, dear ex-Nazim, despite your show of sensitivity, the citizens of Karachi can not let you forget your sins this easy!