Arts Council revitalized, its urban space enhanced: Chief Minister

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KARACHI, Nov 09 (APP):Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday said the facility of Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP) Karachi was revitalized in a way that external areas of arts council had been improved and urban space enhanced with soft and hard landscape to facilitate much more audience than it used to cater before, in order to support and platform art & cultural communities as a whole.

Speaking at launching ceremony of Urban spaces being revitalized in ACP Karachi which would facilitate emergent city needs by giving a platform for social integration of artists, intellects, students particularly youth and women, focusing on “fast, low cost & high impact” interventions, Murad Ali Shah said that the Sindh government with the financial and technical support of the World Bank (WB) had started a four-year Karachi Neighborhood Improvement Project (KNIP) in July 2017.

He added that the purpose of the project was to enhance public spaces, urban roads infrastructure, mobility, inclusion, and access to the market in targeted neighborhoods such as Saddar, Malir and Korangi.

The chief minister said that there were three major components of the project. They include Public Space and Mobility Improvements in selected neighborhoods, Support to Improved Administrative Services & City Capacity Development and Support for Implementation and Technical Assistance.

Murad Ali Shah said that `Educational and Cultural Zone in Saddar’

was being overall renovated and rehabilitated. This included Din Muhammad Wafai Road / Strachan Road, Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road and M.R. Kayani Road which formed a triangular boundary have been selected as sub-project area of the phase-1.

He added that the total length of subproject roads was estimated 2.5 km. “A parking Plaza had also been built to tackle the challenges of parking in one of the most crowded areas of the city- located at National Museum.

The Chief Minister said that besides this, the Art Council had been renovated to provide safe public spaces for promoting culture and art activities.

“The Karachi Neighborhood Improvement Project working under P&D Department is undertaking projects for providing enhanced public spaces in Targeted neighborhoods, improved urban road infrastructure to enhance mobility for access to important places, Improve City’s capacity to provide selected administrative services,” he said.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the World Bank on the request of the Sindh government carried out a Karachi City Diagnostic (KCD) to support provincial government for implementation of Karachi transformation strategy through short term and long-term engagements.

“The Karachi City Diagnostic provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the Karachi Metropolitan Region and estimates investment levels needed to bridge the infrastructure gap and improve the metropolitan region’s economic potential,”.

“The facility of Arts Council of Pakistan is revitalized in a way that external areas of arts council have been improved and urban space enhanced with soft and hard landscape to facilitate much more audience than it used to cater before, in order to support and platform art & cultural communities as a whole,” he said and added ” the Space is being

used for many socio-cultural activities such as exhibition, musical nights and literacy settings.”

Sindh Chief Miniter Murad Ali Shah said that Cafeteria and event space was enhanced through lights and landscaping elements like green belts, fountains to provide an amazing ambiance for the artists to perform and audience to enjoy.

He added “Semi covered/indoor event space for 100 persons (Gulrang) on the North, South court yards, semi covered event space for exhibitions on ground floor of Manzar Hall substation had also been upgraded with 2 fountains, seating spaces, plantation, landscape features, lighting, ancillary facilities to support.”

Murad Ali Shah said that from socio-economic point of view, this project was based on the participatory approach; project involved the project affected persons, project beneficiaries and local community to get their interests and priorities.

The chief minister said at arts council, around 162,000 project beneficiaries had been counted from which the ratio of females was approximately 60 percent male (about 97,200) and 40 percent of female (about 64,800) as casual visitors, artists and even participants. “Project beneficiary survey had also taken the local people where project related civil works were going on to get their views,” he said.

He said the response from the community was optimistic and people were happy to see their area being developed.

Murad Ali Shah said another component of Karachi Neighborhood Improvement Project (KNIP) that had today became a success story was, `Single Window Facility’ for Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) to facilitate the automation of Construction permits, under one roof.

“The time required for construction permits has reduced from 45 days to 15 days. Ease of doing business Index Ranking of country has improved.

SBCA with 60 percent weightage in country had been one of the reasons for better ranking of country,” he said.

The Chief Minister continued that the Sindh government had always been supportive for the initiatives that tend to enhance the rich culture of Karachi like the one KNIP had done in Arts Council precinct. “The intervention carried out in Arts Council precinct is not going to end here but will be continued in phase-II where open air theatre of Arts Council, a hub for theatre lovers will be rejuvenated,” he concluded.

The programme was attended by Home Secretary and Project Director KNIP, Qazi Kabir, President Arts Council, Team of KNIP, senior officers of Sindh government, representative of the World Bank, citizens, artists and media personnel.

Source: VNS Karachi