Islamabad-In sheer disregard to the natural beauty and greenery of Islamabad, Capital Development Authority (CDA) is apparently letting the state institutions and individuals to encroach upon state land and set up illegal parking lots, kiosks, and taxi stands.

The encroachment upon state land by the individuals as well as state institutions speaks a lot about what the authorities were doing to ensure a cleaner environment for the residents of the city.

The biggest compromise comes as the human activity defiling the green belt along Embassy Road in sector G-5 of the capital. The Sixth Avenue, separating sector G-5 from sector G-6 is presenting a look of not less than a concrete jungle with the contractor of Metro Bus Service project, leaving behind tons of concrete and scrap in the green belt where they had installed their construction plant and set up offices. Parts of the green belt are giving a look of a scrap yard. The land has been defiled by the left over concrete, stone crush and metal while the rest has been done by the authorities, which have dug long narrow ditches and long steep-sided depression apparently to block access to the D-Chowk, parliament lodges and parliament house from the Embassy Road. The Metro contractor also left the spot without levelling the ditches after completing the project.

It is deplorable to see the vast green belt being ruined, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the CDA officials who ought to take proper care of the scenic beauty of the city.

The green belt opposite to the under-construction new block of Parliament Lodges is presenting a look of ruins; may be the authorities are waiting for the parliamentarians to have a look of the area from the family suites once they are handed over to them. The occupants of a government hostel at the Ataturk Avenue, just a few hundred meters away from the lodges, can have a better view of the green belt — thanks to the CDA, which had developed a mini park in green belt in front of their residences.

One will find everything in the green belt as kiosks, pumping station, car-washing area, security check post, barber shop, fruit seller and food trucks, as one walks along the Embassy Road.

Greenery is diminishing as the time is ticking and the state institutions are encroaching upon more and more space to set up their separate parking lots.

Almost all the state institutions at Ataturk Avenue as NADRA, Council of Islamic Ideology, NAB and USAID Building have set up illegal parking lots in the green belt. As major chunk of the land goes to the state institutions, the drivers of ‘On Special Duty’ vehicles also park their vehicles in the green belt until the government servants leave their offices in the afternoon.

None of the regulatory bodies as Pak-EPA and ministry of climate change, judiciary, NGOs and civil society played any role to prevent Islamabad from suffering irreversible damage to its master plan and greenery. The inaction on part of the authorities has started stripping the city of its greenery through deforestation and encroachment onto its green belts, turning it into a city other than Islamabad whose master plan ensures greener and cleaner environment. The capital’s natural beauty and greenery is being threatened by the human activities.

When contacted, CDA Spokesman said the authority has been continuously striving for improvement in city’s environment. When particularly asked about the greenery being ruined by human activity in the green belt, he said that the authority is always ready to take action whenever it gets notice of something damaging the environment. Meanwhile, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has removed one of its officers from service on charges of corruption, inefficiency and misconduct.

According to the inquiry officer, the charges against Muhammad Arshad Chohan, now Director JVP/Planning and then Deputy Director (KAC) Planning Wing CDA, were proved. According to an Order, disciplinary proceedings were initiated under CDA Employees (Service) Regulations, 1992 against Muhammad Arshad Chohan, the then Deputy Director (KAC) Planning Wing, CDA vide a charge sheet dated October 30, 2014. Najeeb-ur-Rehman, DG (Services), CDA was appointed as Chairman Inquiry Committee to conduct inquiry on account of various acts of omission and commission committed by the accused officer constituting inefficiency and misconduct. He had allegedly embezzled millions of rupees in the allotment of CNG and Industrial plots. He was facing two inquiries simultaneously.

On the other hand, Legal Advisor, CDA Hafiz Hifz-ur-Rehman has resigned from the office. Rehman, an advocate of the Supreme Court served the Authority from 2014 to 2017. He has cited personal reasons for the resignation.

ISLAMABAD: A view of illegal parking on the green belt outside NADRA head office on Tuesday.–Staff photo by Syed Mehdi

ISLAMABAD: A view of construction material being placed at G-5 green belt.–Staff photo by Syed Mehdi