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RAWALPINDI: Kartarpura residents have objected to the district administration and Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) decision to convert the area into a food street, saying it will restrict their movement around their homes.

Under the plan – which aims to convert the area into a food street by Ramazan 1, vehicular movement would cease on the main road in the area between 7pm and midnight. The PHA plans to erect hydraulic road bollards to close the road to traffic, so seating can be arranged in front of eateries.

The administration has asked the traffic police to make parking arrangements in the area.

Under the plan, the area is to be converted into a food street by Ramazan 1

PHA Chairman Asif Mehmood visited the area on Sunday and met with local residents after receiving objections from people living on the streets attached to the main Kartarpura road.

The residents said it would be difficult for them to use the road towards their houses, as their streets open onto the main road and they will not be able to drive their cars and motorcycles home.

They said they have faced traffic congestion for many years because of local food outlets, and the traffic police has previously failed to resolve the issue. They said the traffic police would not be able to control the traffic in the future either.

Mr Mehmood told the residents that 300 meters of the road will be closed to traffic, but the rest will remain accessible. He added that there were also alternate adjoining streets residents could use, and said the traffic police were working on a plan for traffic to flow smoothly in the area.

The residents did not accept the PHA chairman’s explanation, saying that the government should move the food outlets to a separate commercial area entirely.

The PHA and district administration have decided to hold another round of talks with local residents soon to assure them their movement will not be affected.

Mr Mehmood told Dawn the PHA wants to take all the residents on board before starting work on the food street. He said there are many points of entry from streets adjoining Kartarpura Road, and he visited the site before the area was selected for a food street.

He said Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who directed that he initiate work on the food street and the beautification of Murree Road under a project to revive Rawalpindi, would inspect the sites in a week or two. Therefore, he said, they wanted to complete the work as soon as possible, adding that the residents’ objections would be ended soon.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019