RAWALPINDI: The divisional administration has directed the communication and works, highway departments and the district administration to complete all formalities for Jhikagali Chowk’s remodelling and construction and widening of Kutchery Chowk.

Commissioner Aamir Khattak told a meeting held at his office that these projects will be reflected in the next annual development programme of the Punjab government and will be initiated immediately afterwards. Therefore, all the formalities should be completed by the next week so that work can be started on them without any further delay.

He directed the deputy commissioners of Rawalpindi and Murree to take local people and stakeholders on board and apprise them of the positive impact of these projects.

He said traffic management during the construction of Kutchery Chowk remodelling is the biggest challenge for which special planning should be done. Apart from this, a deadline of two weeks should be given for removal of billboards.

Projects will reflect in next annual development programme for initiation of work on priority basis, commissioner says

The meeting was told during a briefing that additional slip lines towards Barrier Road and Kohala Bridge Road would be constructed besides widening of Jhikagali Chowk for which 9.65 kanals would be acquired. The estimated cost of the remodelling project is Rs860.1 million which will include road construction, land acquisition and other expenses.

Similarly, Kutchery Chowk project includes construction of pedestrian underpasses, removal of structures, drainage and erosion, land acquisition, shifting of services, traffic signals, contingency, consultancy, parks and horticulture works. The estimated cost of the project is Rs1.68 billion.

Deputy Commissioner Dr Hassan Waqar Cheema, the highway superintending engineer and other officers participated in the meeting.

Businesses in residential areas Commercial activities in residential areas under the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) have created problems for residents, while the civic body has turned a blind eye to the issue.

Workshops, private schools, beauty parlours, boutiques and private offices in Westridge, Allahabad, Tench Bhatta and adjoining areas are running their businesses despite clear directions from the federal government to shift them to commercial areas.

Under the law of cantonment, no commercial outlet can be established in the residential areas and commercial activities should be limited to markets and bazaars.

Mohammad Anwar, a resident of Westridge, said private offices were established in residential areas which had created a traffic mess for the residents.

“A commercial market is constructed in the residential area, but most people were running their businesses in private houses to save taxes,” he said.

Raja Fayyaz, a resident of Chota Bazaar, said workshops on every street were creating problems for the residents, making it hard for them to travel due to long queues of private cars parked in front of the houses.

On the other hand, a senior official of RCB told Dawn that commercial activity in residential areas was banned as the residential units were charged less property tax and the businessmen turned the private houses into commercial units without getting approval from the civic body.

He said that a year ago a survey was conducted which found that 222 private schools, 14 saloons, 14 clinics and hospitals and 760 commercial shops and plazas were established in residential areas.

He said that notices had been served to property owners, and the work to seal the properties would be started if the owners failed to shift their outlets to commercial areas.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2024

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