Over 60pc Islamabad residents see water as major issue: survey

Published July 13, 2019
Feedback to help commission in revising the master plan. — AFP/File
Feedback to help commission in revising the master plan. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: As the high-profile commission considers revision of Islamabad’s master plan, the capital’s residents have pointed out four issues that concern them: water, healthcare, parking and sanitation.

This public feedback has been obtained through a survey carried out by the commission set up by the federal cabinet to revise the master plan of Islamabad for the years 2020-40.

Sources said 3,200 people submitted their replies in response to a survey with 60.99pc people saying water was the major issue in Islamabad. Similarly, 41.25pc thought that parking was their major concern while 40.22pc people stated that sanitation should be focused on.

The sources were of the view that the feedback would be helpful for the commission members as they were revising the master plan.

They said the commission was in the process of drawing a broader line for the revision of the master plan which was likely be presented to the prime minister.

After getting approval from the federal government, the broader line will be given to a reputed consultant for making changes to the master plan which was developed in 1960 by a Greek firm.

Feedback to help commission in revising the master plan

The plan was supposed to be revised after every 20 years but successive governments never paid any attention to it. Instead, they kept on making selective changes that resulted in poor planning and mushroom growth of unauthorised construction.

CDA officials said today almost the entire rural area was dotted with unauthorised buildings.

Against the total demand of 220mgd (for both urban and rural area), the residents of urban areas are being supplied only 60mgd while those living in rural areas are getting water either through small supply schemes or boring.

On the other hand, the city managers failed to explore new water sources after constructing Simly Dam, Khanpur Dam and tubewells.

The officials said findings of the survey were alarming for the government as now the major issues of residents was water shortage and there was a need to take immediate steps to overcome the problem.

They said the civic agency would have to take steps to preserve rainwater and go for new water sources like Ghazi Barotha project, which had been pending for almost 15 years.

The officials said Rs77 billion were required to start Ghazi Barotha project to bring water from Indus River. They said attention should be paid to rainwater harvesting as well.

The officials stressed the need for improving health facilities as the two major hospitals, Pims and Polyclinic, were unable to cater to increasing number of patients.

They said poor planning by the city managers was the root cause of parking problem.

Old and broken sewerage lines are adding to the residents’ problems, the officials said.

The survey also pointed out that 39.43pc people showed their concerns over housing shortage followed by 36.26pc being unhappy with the lack of decent transport system as there was no public bus service except the metro service which runs only on a designated route.

During the survey, 39pc people called for open spaces while 28.85pc demanded improvement to cultural activities.

When contacted, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed, who is also the convener of the commission, confirmed that the survey had been completed.

“Yes, water was pointed out as a major issue during the survey,” he said and added that keeping in view the public feedback the commission was moving forward to revising the master plan.

He said a consultant would be hired soon to make changes to the master plan in accordance with the city’s needs. He said draft reports were being prepared which would be shared with the federal government.

“The commission members have finalised their reports so our main task has been completed now. As a next step, a consultant will be hired for proper revision of blueprint of the capital,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2019

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