Thursday, October 2, 2008

Of endless construction

I have been in Cairo now for two years, and, do the stretch to the airport very often on account of our travels or on account of visitors. My driver always takes the autostrad route past Mirage City, cos according to him this is much faster than going through Heliopolis.

I am not sure whether that's true, but that trip is always interesting to me me because it intrigues me. Over the last two years, I have seen rapid contruction taking place along that road, be it between Maadi and Carrefour along the autostrad or the myriad complexes that seem to be springing up along both sides of the autostrad.

Rapid construction is a measure of economic growth and development of a city, but I wonder if that is really the case here? What intrigues me is how is the city going to provide electricity and more importantly water to these outposts? Main Cairo, with its proximity to the Nile is well taken care of, but this unbridled expansion of the city into the dessert, doesn't it pose problems?

According to the Land Center for Human Rights, an independent research and advocacy group based in Cairo, 30 percent of Egyptians are not supplied with potable water and must retrieve it themselves from wells, neighbors or directly from the river.

I remember reading last month that 500 residents of Suez blocked the main highway to Cairo due to lack of municipal water supplies for a 2 month long period. Through the summer, demonstrators blocked roads radiating from Burullus, a Mediterranean coastal town, complaining of chronic water shortages.

Given this background, wonder how construction continues unabated or are they so well organised that all this is taken care of? And is the basic infrastructure, needed to support this, in place?


Connie said...

From some articles I've read, the problem is too much building near the Nile - transporting water is probably less of a problem than finding fertile soil to grow food.

Yoli said...

Very interesting observation. I hope the vested interests do not come to bite the people in the face.