One of the
best investments this Country ever made in the ‘90’s was development of the new
Motorways in the Punjab. Let’s analyze what
it has produced-
Poverty- Whether it’s the “CPEC” development of roads network, rail
links or other transport modes or it’s internally developed, tying city to city
and province to province will uplift rural areas and give them access to
commerce, trade, emergencies, etc.;
Commerce – you’ve shrunk the time, eased the availability and given
smooth access to farmers and trade from their villages to large towns and
Mobility- Punjab has become MOBILE.
With a maximum travel time of six hours, people can work in one city while
their home is in another- very much like cities in USA;
Transport- network and infrastructure has increased and become better;
Employment- you’ve created new means of income & employment- whether
new buses ply the motorways, staffing these buses or opportunities for shops,
outlets, offices, etc. (more on this below*)
Tourism- you give immediate access to develop internal tourism opportunities
(more on this below*). This summer, my
brother, sis-in-law and our families drove from Karachi to Nathiagali, in one
of the best overland adventures they have had!
& self-employment- Local towns, villages and populace on the road network
should be helped & encouraged to put up small, clean, 2-3 star lodgings
& cottages– the economy of that area is being developed indigenously. Pakistani hospitality is one of the best the
world has ever seen (but few can experience it in the face of negative
publicity ☹). You don’t need the “Avaris” and the “PCs”
& “Serenas” – let it be the “Khan Motel” instead. One, 10 room lodging will give DIRECT income
& employment to a family of 5-7 people minimum; they in turn will employ
others to help run the show; producers will sell food stuff, cleaning, linen
and other items to these lodgings; the benefits go on down-stream and are never
ending; and on & on. The ancillary
developments that take place are another story all together – shops , retails,
malls, organized tours, etc.
There may be no international empirical evidence suggesting an increase in road networks necessarily helps an economy but I see actual, on-the-ground benefits we have gained in Pakistan. If travel time between Karachi and Lahore can be reduced from almost 24 hours to 12 hours, what’s not to like? If a series of motorways links the length and breadth of Pakistan, what’s wrong with that?
(As I post this, the new M7 – Multan to Sukkar- just opened!)
Last week I had written about recycling & harvesting rain water (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/08/and-the-rains-are-upon-us/). Then we faced rains in Karachi which I have not seen in decades. The “natural” effect of this was the massive misinformation & incorrect (some genuinely mistaken) social media warnings & alerts on the effects of the rains in Karachi.
One post in
particular, on the flooding of Malir River, got me thinking. At the outset, let me clarify that these are
my personal views and I hope it doesn’t lead to controversy …
Water flowing down Sindh province makes its way into Malir River, which generally lays dry through the year. It’s only when we have sudden rains or this current set of rains when it fills up, and in the latter case, overflowed too.
The major sources of Karachi’s water are the Hub dam, Keenjhar lake & Haleji lake.
Why don’t we “DAM” up the Malir River Basin within Karachi’s limits? Why let the precious rain water go to waste, into the Arabian Sea? If Karachi is seeing its own effects of climate change and our soothsayers predict more of this to come, let’s channelize that water into a massive & natural reservoir down Malir River. A dam in the middle of the City will also become its own, inbuilt tourist attraction (just like Nasser Dam is in Egypt). It’s just a matter of finessing this future dam as the main structural setup is already in place.
There will NOT be any negative environmental effects – in fact it will save water; be a positive social change for the people of Karachi through tourism; it will control the environmental pollutants currently flowing into the Malir River. There will be other benefits!
Do you water experts out there agree to this- or a variation of this idea?
… and now the rains are upon us and we don’t have any catchment system.
Karachi is facing proper monsoon rains for the first time in decades. It’s a good thing too – it cleans up the city; there is more greenery; the temperature drops; and life is so much more pleasant; and the three major reservoirs supplying water to our City get filled.
What is lacking are individual CATCHMENT systems. Each building can easily have their own rainwater harvesting systems – it doesn’t have to be expensive. After the last set of “rains” a few weeks back (though our rains are nothing compared to what India and Bangladesh have to go through during their monsoons and cyclone seasons ☹) I started reading up on rainwater harvesting systems. In our part of the world, Tamil Nadu leads the way! Brazil, Singapore & Australia are other successful examples.
There is a great need for our Government to lead the way in promoting private households, buildings and tall rises to try to catch and reuse rainwater – the WATER IS FREE PEOPLE … we just need to capture this very very scarce resource and utilize it for non-drinking purposes.