Zulfikarabad project? Yes, but no displacements!


President Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday that Zulfikarabad project will reclaim sea-intruded land in Thatta district and it will job opportunities to the locals and usher an era of development to uplift their life style.
The proposed project in the name of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is a futuristic project which will transform the area into an economic hub creating jobs for the locals and would be having all facilities of a modern city, he said while talking to legislators, office-bearers and workers of PPP of Thatta district and office-bearers of Thatta Press Club at Bilawal House.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah and Information Minister Sharjeel Memon were also present on the occasion.
The President said that some people had expressed reservations because of inadequate knowledge about the project. Dispelling any misperception, the President categorically said that “nobody will dislocate you from your land as this is your land. We have to stop sea from eating land in Thatta. I have invited you to give you a true picture and also to tell you what we are doing to save your land from the sea intrusion”.
He said government has sufficient land for Zulfikarabad project and land will also be reclaimed from the sea. About 90 percent of the land is unpopulated and only 10 percent was inhabited. However, the inhabitants will be paid reasonable compensation if their land is required for the project, he added.
President Zardari said that roads will be constructed and drinking water facilities will be provided in Thatta districts under Zulfikarabad project. Two small sea ports will also be developed in the area, he noted.
He said locals will be preferred for jobs in Zulfikarabad and youth will be provided technical training to fill the vacancies.
The President said such project was vital not only to take care of the growing population but also to create more and more jobs for the educated youth.
Chairman Zulfikarabad Development Authority (ZDA) Lt Gen (Retd) Iftikhar Hussain during his presentation said that Zulfikarabad will be developed as special economic zone on the pattern of Shenzhen special economic zone in China.
He said 1.3 million acres of land has been allocated for this project of which 376,000 acres of land has been acquired while 957,000 acres will be reclaimed from the sea.
Chairman ZDA said that the proposed city has the potential of becoming the largest manufacturing centre of Pakistan.
He said the project will stop sea intrusion, save mangroves, develop fisheries sector and generate power through wind, solar and tidal wave energy. \He said Sindh government is the incharge of the project while ZDA is executing agency and Chinese company will develop it. He said four master plans were under preparation while one comprehensive master plan is being devised by ZDA.
He said sea is eating away 18 acres of land everyday and ZDA will construct a 100 feet high and 60 feet wide dyke to protect this area from the sea.
President PPP Thatta Arbab Wazir Memon thanked President Zardari for inviting PPP leaders and workers from Thatta for taking them into confidence about Zulfikarabad project. While assuring their continued support, he thanked the President for initiating such mega project in the less developed Thatta district.
Haji Usman Jalbani MPA congratulated and thanked the President for choosing Thatta district for developing a mega city there. The participants of the meeting presented various suggestions including that of countering propaganda against the proposed city project.