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Women’s library project converted into hospital, remains incomplete

The proposed women’s library complex project near NIPA in Gulshan-e-Iqbal town, initiated by the previous City District Government Karachi (CDGK) under Naimatullah Khan, was never completed, supposedly in favour of constructing the Nasir Hussain Shaheed Hospital.

The plan for the library on University Road was promised in 1991 by then-City Mayor Farooq Sattar. The project seemed to have been forgotten, however, due to political turmoil in Karachi. It was taken up again in 2004 by the Naimatullah Khan-led CDGK.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal MNA Ayesha Munawwar, as well as a few female councillors, decided to spend their development funds on the construction of the library complex which had remained vacant for nearly 13 years. On January 20, 2004, then-Karachi Nazim Naimatullah Khan laid the foundation stone of the complex.

It was expected that the project would cost Rs65 million, most of which was to be covered by development funds that female councillors from Al-Khidmat received from the government. MNA Ayesha Munawwar also contributed Rs15 million for the project. The library complex was meant to have a three-storey general library, an audio-video centre, a training centre, two auditoriums, two lecture halls, a vocational centre, and facilities for different language and computer literacy courses. It also had a display centre, a health centre, a gymnasium hall, a child care centre, a women’s hostel and an adult education centre for women.

When the Naimatullah Khan-led CDGK completed its term in 2005, however, construction work on the project was stopped by the new city government (under Mustafa Kamal).

The new CDGK transformed the womenÂ’s library complex project plan into a 350-bed hospital in 2005, on the premise that there were no public-sector health institutions in the area, and residents had to go to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) or the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK).

The status of the project was converted a few years ago through a resolution passed by the City Council. The only progress made thus far by the CDGK Works & Services Department, however, is an incomplete concrete structure at the site of the Nasir Hussain Shaheed Hospital.

Residents of the area believe that while the prerogative to construct a women’s library complex or a health facility at the site lay with the government, a final decision should, however, have been taken and the project completed with responsibility in the stipulated time frame.

CDGK Works & Services EDO Amanullah Chachar said that Chief Engineer Younus Arain was looking after the project and he should be contacted in this regard. Arain, in his turn, said that engineer Tariq Rafi was in contact with the construction firm and he would be the better person to give any answer regarding the delay in the project.

Rafi, meanwhile, advised The News to contact EDO Chachar, because the latter was the head of the department and would have more information. Rafi refused to provide any solid information in this regard. He was, however, of the opinion that financial constraints could be the one of the reasons behind the delay in the completion of the project.
Source: The News
Date:7/10/2008

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