KARACHI: According to Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), the Malir Expressway project is now approved. It has already been over a year since this multi-billion rupee project was first conceived.
On Sunday, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report was released without considering the genuine concerns of area residents and experts.
Sepa’s approval of the EIA is considered by affected residents and experts as a mockery of the Sindh Environmental Protection Act 2014, which states: “No proponent of a project shall commence construction or operation unless he has filed with the Agency an IEE [initial environmental examination] or EIA, & has obtained from the agency approval in respect thereof.”
Work on the project began early after Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party, inaugurated it in December 2020, and earthwork up to the Jam Sadiq Bridge and Quaidabad area has been completed.
The project will link affluent areas of the city with gated communities on its outskirts under a public-private partnership.
As part of this project, 38.75 kilometers of 3×3 lane expressway will be constructed with controlled access along the Malir river between Korangi Creek Avenue (DHA) and Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) near Kathore, using the existing Link Road.
The motorway is said to cause the least environmental and social damage due to fewer travel distances and times, and limited land acquisition and relocation issues. A natural bund (due to embankments) will also provide protection from flooding during heavy monsoon rains, it says.