ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Pakistan Navy (PN) have removed encroachments partially in Sectors E-8 and E-9; Navy’s Sailing Club has been sealed whereas discussions with Naval authorities to clear the encroached Right of Way (RoW) of the Golf Course were ongoing.

This was disclosed by Chairman, Capital Development Authority (CDA) Amer Ali Ahmed at a recent meeting of the Federal Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Sharing the background, Chairman CDA revealed that independent sectors E-8 and E-9 were allotted to PN & PAF by CDA in 1974 and 1989 respectively. From 2007 onwards enhancement of security paraphernalia was done for protection of these sectors. Some of this security paraphernalia later extended up to Green Belt. CDA approached MoD in Sep 20 regarding encroachment on Green Belt along Margalla Road.

When the issue came under discussion in the Cabinet last year, it was directed that Green Belt along Margalla Road be preserved and encroachments that impede traffic flow be removed.

According to Chairman CDA, initially CDA approached respective Services HQs to resolve the issue and later MoD was approached for an amicable solution.

He said preliminary meeting of stakeholders at MoD under chair of Secretary Defence was held after a joint survey was conducted and now compliance has started.

In compliance of Cabinet directive, NHQ & AHQ had taken measures to restore Green Belts alongside sectors E-8 and E-9 at Khayaban-e-Iqbal. Hampering infrastructures had been removed/re-aligned. Unauthorized parking area on the Green Belt was removed. Alternate parking within sector boundaries had been established inside Sector E-8. PAFSOM commercial activities were ceased by PAF at sector E9 since Dec, 31 2020 as per the Cabinet directives whereas opening of double road leading to NDU had been ensured by removing picket/barriers.

However, progress on the following issues is under way: (i) in E-8 shifting of security infrastructure along with security paraphernalia is in progress. 1,020 jersey barriers out of 1,130 have been shifted to original fence line. Overall 90% work has been completed and remaining work will be completed by end Jul 21; (ii) in E-9 in order to ensure strict compliance of the directives, Board of Officers completed proposals and submitted for approval in capital works programme. The project will be accomplished in 6-8 months period after necessary budgetary approvals during fiscal year 2021-22. However; Air University boundary wall works for re-alignment with E-8 & E-9 boundary walls have been executed; (iii) extensive efforts were concentrated on development of Green Belts on the northern side on Khayaban-e-Iqbal. Elaborate sprinkler system has been laid for sustenance of greenery. Nearly, 10,000 saplings have been recently planted collectively by PN & PAF and more to be added. Landscaping and horticulture was completed within stipulated time; (iv) 98 percent work on all Reed Bed Sewerage Water Treatment Plants (RBSWTs) had been completed. O4 x RBSWTs will be operational with the capacity of treating 450,000 gallon grey water per day; (v) removal of unauthorized Islamabad Traffic Police setup on Green Belt of Sector E-8 is the responsibility of Traffic Police; and (vi) PC-1 approved for underpass/flyover at Shaheen Chowk and work to start within three months. Road on RoW has not been recommended due to plantation.

During discussion, the Prime Minister observed that the construction activity in ICT that took place in the last one decade alone between 2010 and 2020 is equal to the construction activity that had taken place in 50 years between 1960 and 2010, leading to depletion of green areas. The problem was being compounded by the growing tendency of encroachments in the Green Belts. He unequivocally directed that no one, including government institutions, should be allowed to encroach on the green areas and public paths.

On an enquiry by a member about the status of illegally constructed Navy Sailing Club and the encroachments by the Naval Golf Course, the CDA Chairman confirmed that the Sailing Club had been sealed whereas discussions with Naval authorities to clear the encroached RoW by the Golf Course were going on.

Alleged encroachment by Islamabad Club next to Sports Complex was also pointed out but the Cabinet Secretary clarified that the security barrier in question was within the premises of the club, and there was no encroachment by the Club on any government land, and this was also certified by the CDA. A report in the matter had already been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office when the issue was raised earlier. The utilization of Citizens Club F-9 Park was also discussed but the decision was deferred till the next Cabinet meeting.

The Cabinet further directed CDA to ensure that the green areas and public pathways in ICT are preserved at all cost and no one, including government institutions, allowed to encroach on the green areas.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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