Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SCARS ON ISLAMABAD'S FACE GROW

Encroaching upon virtually everything that is for public use – from pavements to parks and from parking lots to playgrounds – people have made these their very own.

In the absence of any strict checks, the encroachers continue to make use of this ‘facility’ with no regard whatsoever for the public that has to suffer no end.

Blue Area, the commercial heartland of the Capital as elsewhere, has cars stay parked on pavements. Car dealers occupy entire parking lots and seminaries and mosques are built illegally on land meant for parks.

In markets across town, shopkeepers spread their ware in aisles inconveniencing visitors. Similarly, mostly students of seminaries, abuse play facilities meant for children. In this regard, a play area in F-6/4 is a fine example.

To make matters worse, every Tom, Dick and Harry has now begun to block streets in the name of security – threat or no threat. Everyone having to pass through is looked at with suspicion by the security guards or the police personnel.

The cemented slabs that have become a common sight are quite troublesome for the residents as they are for those placing them there.

The encroachment in whatever form it might be is an infringement on people’s freedom. We have to tackle this matter before it becomes beyond control.

But already this problem has become monstrous with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) seemingly making only half-hearted attempts. Had the city fathers not acted as spectators, the issue would not have spiraled out of control.

The problem of shutting down streets in residential areas stems from the nonconforming use of houses mainly by offices and embassies. However the CDA points out that crackdown on violators had already begun.

Although the authorities had made some attempts in this regard under former chairman Kamran Lashari, yet success was only limited.

Residents say that the increased commercial use of private houses and encroachments were the biggest scars on Islamabad’s face. For some reason, the will to combat these problems is lacking.

Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad
Cell: 0300 52 56 875

No comments: