RAWALPINDI, March 21: Ever since the City District Government Rawalpindi was formed in 2006, there have been conflicts between that body and the preexisting Rawal Town Municipal Administration over authority and income.
The latest battleground is a piece of land at Circular Road, which for the past 40 years has served as a waste enclosure. The trash of six union councils is gathered here and later transferred to a landfill at Losar.
Saif Anwar Jappa, Rawal Town Administrator, maintained that the Circular Road property belonged to RTMA, which intends to build shops and flats near the enclosure, along with plots for service use near Circular Road and Jamia Masjid Road.
The plan was originally slated for 2012, but “we were waiting for the national and provincial assemblies to be dissolved, so that we could avoid any resentment from them.”
On Wednesday morning, a team of RTMA engineers was sent to visit the location and make a site plan for the construction of three shops.
“When our team got there, officials from the Municipal Services Department were waiting for them. They said they used the site to collect garbage,” Jappa continued, noting that the RTMA employees departed ‘without argument’.While waste management was originally an RTMA responsibility, it was transferred to the new CDGR in 2006, along with all of the department's assets.
The RTMA also particularly resents losing the income from the Pirwadhai Bus Terminal and its 800 shops, which was given to the CDGR after a protracted struggle ended in 2011 with the intervention of the local bureaucracy and the DCO.
“We do not intend to cede this lucrative property to the CDGR,” Jappa said, hinting that income had become a priority for the RTMA. “We will let the CDGR use a 10-foot by 12-foot space for continued garbage collection.”
Jappa’s offer was not acceptable to Dr Mazhar Azeem, District Officer for Solid Waste Management. “That is not enough space to collect the garbage that six union councils generate each day,” he told Dawn, noting that he had written to Saif Anwar Jappa with his concerns.
According to Dr Azeem, the garbage collection point at Circular Road had been serving that purpose for the past 40 years. “It was established because it’s hard to collect garbage on the main roads and inner streets downtown and then transfer it to Losal,” he said. “Here, it's possible to park trucks and heavy vehicles to collect the garbage.” A special “waste enclosure” was constructed in 2000.