I.I. Chundrigar Road

Karachi’s Wall Street needs help!


By Jamil Khan | KARACHI


I. I. Chundrigar Road, also sometimes called the Wall Street of Pakistan has fallen victim to negligence only a year after its renovation. Millions of rupees were spent on renovating this long road but it seems no one has bothered to maintain this important thoroughfare.

Chundrigar Road as it is popularly referred to, houses some of the largest companies in the country and is the hub of all commercial activities taking place in Karachi. From the State Bank, to the Karachi stock exchange, from newspapers and private television channels to the central police office, to head offices of major local and foreign banks. I I Chundrigar means business.

Not surprisingly then, the amount of traffic that commutes through this road day and night is unprecedented. A year after its renovation the concerned authorities have yet to address the concerns of the thousands of visitors that come here daily.

One of the major problems commuters face at the Chundrigar road is illegal parking alongside footpaths on both sides of the road. There are only a few buildings equipped with indoor parking facilities; hence a large number of people have no option but to park their vehicles either inside the narrow lanes or alongside footpaths. Illegally parked vehicles alongside the footpaths serve to clog Karachi’s financial artery, considerably reducing space for both oncoming and outgoing traffic. The result is angry commuters and frustrated traffic police.

The illegal parking though is not restricted to just alongside footpaths in fact, motorcyclists frequently use the footpath itself as parking space. Entire footpaths especially between the City Railway Station to Merewether Tower are being used as parking space for two-wheelers as neither the traffic police nor the civic administration seem to be taking necessary steps to permanently solve the problem.

Due to the negligence of the concerned authorities, the condition of footpaths is fast deteriorating and at certain places people have conveniently removed concrete slabs off the footpaths to mount their vehicles onto the footpath. At others various utility service companies have abandoned maintenance work causing inconvenience for pedestrians.

The ongoing construction of multi-story buildings between Shaheen Complex and the City Railway Station has become another issue. Dumpers that pass through the road during the night carrying construction waste leave behind trails of debris across the road, while over two dozen manhole covers have simply disappeared endangering lives of pedestrians and motorcyclists alike. A large number of manhole covers have disappeared from the newly installed storm water drains and have already resulted in several accidents; the authorities have yet to notice.

One such place lies right in front of the Railway Stadium where an open manhole has become a sink, which Rickshaw drivers and scavengers use to clean their vehicles. That part of the road has turned into a pothole and is unable to carry the burden of oncoming traffic.

Some of the visitors have criticized the role of officials in failing to resolve the parking issues on this boulevard “We thought that the city government will take necessary steps to resolve parking issues on this road but that is clearly not the case,” said Rizwan Ali, a banker. Another staff member at a private brokerage house located near the Shaheen Complex said that, he has to go through the excruciating exercise of locating a parking spot everyday.

Daily Times contacted the EDO Works and Services but they were not available for comment. It also must be mentioned here that the city government commenced the renovation and beautification work at the I I Chundrigar Road in April 2005 which came to an end in December last year. The entire project cost a mammoth Rs 270 million, Rs 220 million of which was funded by the State Bank while the remaining funds were provided by the city government.

Once known as the McLeod Road, the business hub of Pakistan needs a bailout but it seems the call has escaped the eyes of the concerned authorities.

– Published in  Daily Times | Dec 14, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on December 14, 2008.

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