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ISLAMABAD: Mayor and acting Capital Development Authority chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz has given the concerned department a week to improve the neglected Lakeview Park.

Lakeview Park is one of the most visited parks in the capital, despite its sanitary condition and the high prices charged by kiosk operators.

The mayor made a surprise visit to the park after receiving complaints, and expressed displeasure over its arrangements for cleanliness.

Annoyed by the growth of wild bushes, grass and the lack of cleanliness, Mr Aziz directed, according to a press release, for wild bushes to be removed, trees to be trimmed and the overall cleanliness of the park to be improved within a week’s time. Mr Aziz also ordered for park equipment to be repairs.

The mayor fired two absent daily-wage employees and directed for disciplinary proceedings to be initiated against two regular Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) employees. He also ordered the concerned directorate to submit details about licences and other information on kiosks set up in the park.

He said citizens should be able to buy hygienic edible items at concessional rates. Mr Aziz passed a similar directive during his visit to the park last year, but to no avail. Sources in the civic organisation told Dawn that operators have been overcharging customers for edibles openly.

“All the edible items are being sold here at prices higher than the markets. In fact, all items should be sold at discounted rates, as kiosk owners are only paying token rent to the civic agency,” an MCI official, who is deployed at Lakeview, told Dawn.

He said that if the original monthly rent for the kiosks was Rs20,000 for original allottees, in many cases the kiosks had been sublet at rates between 15,000 to 30,000 a month, and those who had sublet the kiosks were charging citizens at will, to meet rent expenses and make earnings.

The official added: “The mayor’s statement is encouraging, that citizens should be provided hygienic edible items at concessional rates, but time will prove whether his directive has any effect.”

Mr Aziz also directed all MCI officials to wear a uniform while working. Executive Director General Environment Sanaullah Aman told the mayor that 16 employees have been deputed to ensure cleanliness and security at the park in three shifts, while 21 regular and 20 temporary employees are also working at the park.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2017