The development work of converting the Mir Karam Ali Khan Talpur Road into a food street which would be finished by June this year is underway. The completion work of this road is a part of the revival of the nearby area of Empress Market and its connecting areas’ projects, according to the chief engineer of the project.
As per him, the work on the revamp of the Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan Road (Bohri Bazaar) into a night bazaar is also underway, which also be finished in June.
Navaid Izhar—the Chief engineer of the project also informed that a part of the Mir Karam Ali Khan Talpur Road, previously known as the Napier Street would be pedestrianised to prevent the automobiles from shielding the view of the main entrance of Empress Market and its tower from the food street.
Presently, the road has been shut for all kinds of traffic and construction work is in progress in the middle of the road. Under the development work kiosks of various food brands would also be established. The complete road would be covered with walkways on both the sides.
The chief engineer said that the people would be able to have some good time in Saddar as they would be given a setup where they could enjoy food of various restaurants. Saddar is itself a very rich site when it comes to heritage buildings. It gives a royal ancient kind of look to the viewers.
The chief engineer said that the shops already present on both sides of the roads would in no way be affected by the project.
The food street project is part of a much bigger picture—its part of the plan to revamp the Saddar area via re-routing the public transportation system, the advancement of the zone as a traffic-free pedestrian area, the development of the art and cultural activities and to add more value and importance to the area by the addition of the food and entertainment activities.
Navaid Izhar informed that the project targets to lessen the traffic mess in the Saddar area by redirecting the traffic on alternative routes as per the decisions made in the master plan.
The project was initially launched by the previous governor of Karachi—Ishratul Ebad back in March 2014. The project launch was for controlling the traffic issues and the air pollution matters in the heart of the city. The project was expected to be finished within the two years of its launch, however, like many more projects it got delayed.
As per the project engineer, five roads of the area along with Empress Market and Jehangir Park were to be overhauled. Out of the five roads, three were to be pedestrianized and the other two roads were to be renovated to make them one-way streets.
The bad side of the project is that many residents and the traders are not that happy with the development work. The traders who have already got their shops in the area are complaining that their business is suffering because of the road closure.
One of the local residents complained that roads are for traffic not for food street. He further added that the government is trying to make the area a hold-up for traffic which would be adding more to the miseries of the commuters.
He further mentioned that the government needs to understand that it is further adding to the traffic problem in Saddar area rather than solving the issue. He informed that a declaration has been signed by one hundred and twenty-seven traders and residents. The declaration is tilted as the “anti-citizens project”.