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‘Tastes of Burns Road’ Expo fails to make impact

KARACHI: “Tastes of Burns Road”, which was organised in connection with the Hamara Karachi celebrations failed to pull much of crowds to the already existing famous and oldest food street of the metropolis, owing to lack of proper arrangements and non-availability of adequate parking which was the major problem, and the foremost issue which for decades was not solved by any of the government was the untidiness and filth strewn all around.

The famous and oldest food street of the metropolis, Burns Road, which has been catering to millions of people since long has now been formally declared ‘Food Street” on an eight-day trial basis from January 10 to 18..

Governor of Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad was the first one to moot the idea of declaring Burns Road a food street but could not make it due to too many high-rise buildings and having no alternative to allow passage of traffic. All the public transport to almost all parts of the city passes through here. Only those who usually flock to this area every weekend were in majority.

This correspondent interviewed many of those people and restaurant owners to solicit their views and on what the City District Government said was a grand festival. It emerged that business during this food festival showed a marked decline as it is the area where walk-in customer and take-away services were in full swing round the clock.

The main reason behind this bearish trend, said a shopkeeper, was lack of permission even to private vehicles as barricades were put up both at entry and exit points, which, besides reducing sales by 50 percent, also created traffic mess around the by-lanes.

Business in this area has a bullish trend but the organising of the event, the shopkeepers viewed, had reduced their daily customers. This despite the fact that restaurant owners arranged live concerts, magic show and other festivities for the people. The Al-Hamd Fried Chicken (AFC), fast food restaurant, the only one in this area, which was opened, recently held various variety programmes for the assemblage.

The owner of the restaurant Sohail Sabir excitedly stated that this should be a regular feature as people of Karachi and especially this area missed out on recreational activity. This is the start of the plan and would obviously gain business with the passage of time. The government, he said, had introduced this idea on a trial basis.

Popular food staples at Taste include Nihari, Gola Kabab, Haleem,. Fish, Rabri and famous dahi bara which attracted the people even living in this locality. No other special offer was given by the town administration.

This downtown show, however, gained momentum on Sunday where people from different city areas flocked to enjoy the food street. Hasan Jamil, an Accountant in the National Refinery, who usually visits the place once in a month along with family was of the view that these celebrations should be organised in different parts of the city in collaboration with the sponsors who could manage the whole event including the trash collection.

Fauzia Rahman from Clifton only came to know that Hamara Karachi was being celebrated when she, along with her family, stopped over on Burns Road as just a usual trip. Another food lover of the Burns Road, three friends, Mohammed Abbas Shahzada, Mohammed Samar and Shahbuddin Qureshi suggested that street should be declared food street along the lines of the Lahore Gawalmandi which has its unique features like cleanliness and hygienic conditions apart from food.

Ahsan Shamshad, an Accounts Assistant in the PTCL, was of the view that this festival could be arranged on public holidays and Sundays so as not to hamper traffic flow.

Sabrina Atif who came along with her family from Defence criticizing the government for mismanagement and improper arrangement said that, a proper guideline should be given to the people and the government functionaries should have involved making this event successful. As a matter of fact, garbage was strewn all over, with burst sewerage lines in the entire area.

(By Shamim Bano, The News-2, 16/01/2007)

Fighting fire at cost of their lives

KARACHI, Jan 16: Monday’s fire in a garment warehouse, which claimed lives of six firemen leaving three still trapped under the rubble, has exposed the near collapse state of the fire department service.

The fire department’s capacity is insufficient to meet the requirements of the city and the latest incident is likely to affect the morale of the already neglected fire department.

Rescue officials said three firemen Imtiazul Haq, Fareed Khan and Naseer were still trapped under the rubble. Korangi Fire Station Officer Ishtiaq Ahmed suffered critical wounds and Site Fire Station Officer Mobin suffered fractures.

It is perhaps the most under resourced department faced with manpower shortage. As put by a fireman, “The department has never been taken seriously by the authorities concerned irrespective of who is in power”.

The state of affairs can be assessed from the fact that Chief Fire Officer Kazim Ali was under suspension since November 22. The routine affairs were being looked after by the deputy chief fire officer Naeem Yousuf, who reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown and was in hospital coinciding with the Monday’s fire inferno.

The chain of command suffered the last jolt when Fire Officer Ehtesham, who had taken charge from the deputy chief, got injured in the fire fighting operation on Monday.

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