Islamabad is in dire need of a workable public transport system that compliments Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is all set to auction off 18 commercial plots located in the upscale sectors of the capital. Previously, in April, the auction of commercial plots fetched more than four and a half billion rupees. The price of the commercial plots averaged around half a million rupees per square yard. The recent approval of auctioning off plots in posh sectors of F-7, F-10 and F-8 by the CDA board comes in less than two months of the previous auction.
It is expected that the selling of plots will bring in more than a billion rupees. After the auction of plots, the auction committee will put its recommendations before the CDA board which has the final say in accepting and rejecting the bids.
It is to be kept in mind that recently CDA has initiated a no holds barred policy towards encroachment and non-conforming use of land in all sectors of Islamabad. Many restaurants, shops, boutiques and other establishments were issued notices to stop conducting business in the residential areas and move as soon as possible to areas exclusively designated for commercial activities. The sudden arrival of many businesses in the main markets and centres has increased the value and has caused a shortage of space. In light of this, one can fully understand the huge interest in the commercial auction of plots by the CDA.
In the CDA’s board meeting, the year-old matter of mass public transport delineating different routes for a bus service that compliments the existing Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro bus also came under consideration. However, the issue was postponed since things are still in a flux as Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) and CDA are undergoing a phase of the transfer of powers, personnel and machinery. The issue has been deferred due to the present state of affairs.
Islamabad has a slipshod public transport system as privately-owned vans and buses ply the routes across the city. These overcrowded, poorly maintained and over-speeding vehicles not only endanger the lives of their passengers, but also pose a mortal threat to passers-by. Since the role of government is only to regulate the rate of fare and keep an overall check; the drivers and conductors of these vehicles routinely indulge in charging more than the prescribed fare and misbehaving with their passengers. The beginning of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro has only made things better for those who reside in areas it crosses by. For those living on fringes of the capital, the bus service alleviates little.
“I live in G-13 and have to regularly go to my college in H-8. The Metro bus hardly benefits me or thousands of others, as it caters to sectors in mainland Islamabad. The residents of newly developed sectors on the fringes of Islamabad are still at the mercy of transport mafia and shabby vans and buses. I heard long ago that government will introduce a bus service that will connect all the areas of twin cities with Metro bus, but maybe they’ve shelved it, as there is no sign of any such development in our area. I request that they start a project as soon as possible,” said Syed Khurram, a resident of G-13.