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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has given go-ahead signal to Capital Development Authority (CDA) to remove all encroachments in the capital including relocation of those residing on the land allotted for the Defence Complex, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

On August 3, 2021, CDA Chairman Amir Ali Ahmed, who was recently praised by the Prime Minister for his excellent work gave a presentation to the Cabinet on the latest progress on removal of encroachments in E-8 and E-9 Sectors (Margalla Road). He informed that initially CDA approached respective Services HQs to resolve the issue of encroachment and later Ministry of Defence was approached for amicable solution.

During discussion, the Prime Minister unequivocally stated that no one should be allowed to encroach on state land, no matter how influential the organization or individual. It was pointed out that the Naval Golf Course was built on encroached land. Chairman CDA confirmed that around 100 acres of state land had been encroached to build the Golf Course, which was hampering completion of roads as per the Master Plan. The Prime Minister directed that all encroachments in green areas, especially the Margalla Hills National Park, should be immediately removed and the original Master Plan must be restored. The need to relocate those residing on the land allotted for the Defence Complex was also highlighted.

Earlier, sharing the current status, he briefed the Cabinet that preliminary meeting of stakeholders at Ministry of Defence under chair of Secretary Defence was held and a Joint survey of site by CDA and respective Service HQ has begun.

He further noted that in compliance of Cabinet directive, Navel Headquarter (NHQ) & Air Headquarter (AHQ) have taken measures to restore green belts alongside sectors E-8 & E-9 at Khayaban-e-Iqbal, adding that hampering infrastructures have been removed/re-aligned. Unauthorized parking area on green belt has been removed. Alternate parking within sector boundaries has been established inside Sector E-8. PAFSOM commercial activities have been ceased by PAF at sector E-9 since Dec 31, 2020 as per the Cabinet directives. Opening of double road leading to National Defence University (NDU) has been ensured by removing picket/barriers.

Briefing on point of re-alignment of temporary security infrastructure at E-8 would be completed in 6 - 8 months i.e. by end Aug 21, he said, and shifting of security infrastructure along with security paraphernalia is in progress. 1020 jersey barriers out of 1130 have been shifted to original fence line. Overall 90% work has been completed and remaining work will be completed soon.

Sharing update on re-alignment of temporary security infrastructure at E-9, he stated that in order to ensure strict compliance of the directives, Board of Officers have completed and submitted for approval a capital works program. 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 has been executed.

Amir Ali Ahmed, a close relative of Chief Election Commissioner, stated that 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 10000 saplings have been recently planted collectively by PN & PAF and more are to be added. Landscaping and horticulture was completed within the stipulated time.

Commenting on removal of unauthorized Islamabad Traffic Police setup on green belt of Sector E-8, he said that this action pertains to Islamabad Traffic Police.

On construction of underpass/flyover at Shaheen Chowk by CDA with assistance of both services would address the traffic flow concerns in the long term, he stated.

Sharing update on under construction four Reed Bed Sewerage Water Treatment Plants (RBSWTs) he said 98 percent work on all RBSWTs has been completed. Four are operational with the capacity of treating 450,000 gallon grey water per day.

Talking about construction of underpass/flyover at Shaheen Chowk by CDA with assistance of both services to address the traffic flow concerns in the long term, he said PC-1 has been approved and work is to start within 3 months. He maintained that road on Right of Way (RoW) is not recommended due to heavy plantation.

After detailed discussion, the Cabinet directed to expedite progress on the remaining points of the Action Plan. It was further directed that all encroachments - by any organization or individual - into public right of way, green areas, especially the Margalla Hills National Park, should be immediately dealt with.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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