Even though Islamabad and Rawalpindi are called the twin cities, there is nothing remotely similar about the two; one is dubbed the most beautiful capital of the world, while the other rots away under poor governance and grossly inefficient civic bodies like the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA).

The RDA has failed to develop even a single housing scheme during the last 30 years and to top it off, could not even monitor private housing societies, which begs to ask the question; what has been its purpose of existence all these years?

The body was initially created to plan out the city development and monitor all such activities yet all it has managed to oversee is the mushrooming growth of low quality housing schemes, which cannot even offer the most basic amenities to the residents like a proper sewage system or allotting land for mosques, schools, community centres and parks in their schemes. An even more alarming situation is that a total of 40 housing schemes are registered with the RDA and it has failed to take any action against the illegal housing schemes where citizens have invested millions of rupees; hard earned money they will never get back once these schemes fold up and move on to scam the next unsuspecting victims.

The real problem lies with the fact that the civic body lacks an organisational structure, there was no permanent director general of the RDA and the Commissioner Rawalpindi division had been working as the acting DG along with handling all his other commitments. The culture of land development has to shift from one where only money matters and not the people nor the environment. Urban planning is essential and that too one that respects the needs of the people and the place. The rate at which mountains are being destroyed to make golf courses and unstructured housing continues to expand, the mere mention of the word ‘development’ will give the people a reason to fear the worst.