Margalla tunnel project has become controversial, with one group of people supporting the project and the other opposing it. The issue was timely settled when the government decided to shelve the project. Why the government decided to initiate this mega project was because it could have been beneficial for the people of district Haripur. The project, if completed, would have connected the capital with district Haripur.

The majority of the area of Margalla hills lies in Haripur district which is cut off from the rest of district by tall mountains. The importance of this tunnel for Islamabad is the same as Lowari tunnel to Chitral. This project would remove the sense of deprivation among the people of that area. However, the project is being criticized by some environment groups and NGO’s as they are of the view that the projects would harm the environment.

One wonders where were the environmentalists when Islamabad was built from the scratch. Similar scenario arose in India when the Jawahar tunnel was to be constructed on Pir Panjal range which is considered to be the most beautiful and green area. The court decided to go for the construction and emphasized that developmental projects must work in environmental friendly manner.

The Tunnel project is beneficial if taken seriously. I request the judiciary as well as the federal government to reconsider their decision. The developmental work should not be hampered by environment. The project can be carried out in environment friendly manner by carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment.

IQAN JUNAID,

Islamabad, December 7.