ISLAMABAD, Oct 4 (APP): Green and serene roads; once the hallmark of Islamabad the Beautiful, are now merely reminiscent of bygone times, mainly due to slackness of the city managers, who have no landscaping plan even on paper for its two major highways, being used by thousands of motorists every day.
It is high time for the authorities concerned to carry out beautification measures in the city, especially at the 25-Kilometer (KM) Srinagar Highway and 28KM-Islamabad Expressway to ensure clean and green environment on the major arteries, welcoming a whopping number of visitors from other cities.
Currently, there are two civic authorities in the Federal Capital-the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI). that ought to take eco-friendly and beautification initiatives in the city, but both of them lack a concrete beautification plan for both the arteries.
Talking to APP, official sources in the MCI said that they had worked out several plans to make the capital clean and green including the installation of road furniture and tree plantation but most of them could not be materialised due to paucity of funds. They said the MCI had planted more than 20 thousands plants along the highways recently, adding “The survival rate for plantation on these roads is 67 per cent.”
When asked about the reason behind the minimal numbers of trees despite their claim of massive plantations along the roads, they said the children of different localities would come to play outside their homes and trample the planted saplings. About road furniture and other initiatives, the sources said it fell in the CDA’s domain.
Meanwhile, the sources in CDA said that the meeting over the issue had recently been conducted by the competent authorities but “There is no plan on paper at the moment for the landscaping of Srinagar and Islamabad Highways.” The department would soon draft a PC-I for carrying out beautification measures along the Expressway, he stressed.
Environmentalist Iqabal Khaliq said that the highways built after the 60s to connect the federal capital with Rawalpindi, Grand Trunk (GT) road and other intra-city major thoroughfares gradually lost their beauty due to mushrooming housing societies along the road.
“The expressway which welcomed its commuters with a scenic view of Margalla hills till the dawn of the 21st century has also hidden behind the tall buildings which were built illegally by some elements”, he alleged.
He said that some 20 years ago, a commuter on the Islamabad Expressway was supposed to receive cool winds in the summer season due to the high number of long and green trees which were unfortunately removed by the builders. Citing a report recently published in a national daily, he said he was astonished to read that 64 per cent of the Islamabad Expressway did not have trees.
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