THIS is apropos of the news item ‘Committee approves monetisation plan’ (April 19) and the article ‘Monetisation plan vs PPP’s slogan of Roti, Kapra aur Makaan (April 8, Metro & North).

Islamabad could never become a commercial or trading centre like Karachi. Sectors F/6 and G/6 were developed in the beginning to accommodate government officials who were shifted from Karachi.

Each sector was so designed that it had a main commercial area and each of the four sub-sectors had a school, a mosque, a police station, health services, a small market and other services like post and telephone offices all easily accessible. In short, each sector was a small community complex.

Few houses were built for government employees in the sectors developed subsequently. Roads were not designed to handle traffic.

The result was Karachi-like living, working and commuting conditions for these employees.

The government has absolved itself of the responsibilities of providing housing to government employees. The decision of the government to monetise will result in a host of problems for government employees such as education of their children, health and transport.

Has the committee considered how it is going to effect low-paid employees in particular? The CDA should find some other means to generate money.

CDA should construct multi-storied apartments for government employees and provide them accommodation till they are in service.

The government and the CDA should also take into consideration that Islamabad already has a water problem. By commercialisation, the situation could worsen

If the government wants to generate funds, it should allow multi-storied apartments in the Blue Area, which has not been developed and gives a deserted look. All government quarters in Aabpara should be replaced by flats. This will solve the problem of low-paid employees.

The CDA is not a commercial entity. It should reduce its administrative expenses and outsource services like gardening, janitorial, etc.

In order to generate funds, the CDA has immensely changed the complexion of Islamabad.

So much so that the railway centre, to be located in sector I/8, was converted into a regular residential sector.

The result is that Islamabad has no railway station worth the status of a capital.

The new airport is about 60km from the capital and near sensitive locations. Could it not have been constructed in Zone V?

The CDA could have earned money by developing new sectors in Bhara Kahu and bringing it under its municipal control.

Plots for vegetable and orchards have been converted into marriage halls and luxury houses.

The once beautiful Islamabad is now a city of slums and overflowing gutters.

The situation will worsen when all government houses have been auctioned off to be replaced by high-rise buildings.

The government should also consider monetisation of accommodation, health and transport facilities for elected representative in Islamabad and provinces. Likewise, this should also apply to defence services.

The president, the prime minister, governors, legislators and public representatives should shift to smaller houses and their royal residences be converted to luxury hotels.

This will save a lot of wasteful expenditure on maintenance.

M. K. SUFI Islamabad Citizens Committee

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