Islamabad - Mandi Morr, the gateway of the capital, is fast emerging as ‘Raja Bazar’ of Islamabad as the Capital Development Authority has allowed the vendors to conduct illegal business activities in the area.

The road is becoming narrow with each passing day as the vendors continue to illegally occupy the passage causing inconvenience to the road-users. With the CDA turning a blind eye to the sanitation and encroachment of the state land along the service road by the vendors, the area is facing multiple problems. The area is defined by heaps of garbage, boiling gutters, fetid smelling and choking nullahs. A visitor to the area and those coming from other parts of the country to the twin cities are welcomed by addicts, palmists, van conductors, idles, beggars and swindlers as the local police have apparently given them a free hand to tease the newcomers. A large number of public transport vehicles leave the passengers coming from other cities at Mandi Morr. The visitors are usually shocked to find out that the area is also a part of the capital city. As one travels through the IJP road, an all-pervading stench emanates from garbage heap making for an unwelcoming entry to the capital. Unfortunately, Mandi Morr is usually the first and last thing the visitors see when they enter and leave the city.

The ugly sight of the garbage dumpsite is indicative of CDA’s indifferent attitude towards the area. A thorough review of the locale reveals that sanitation staff has not visited it since months. Restaurant owners, food vendors, stall holders hardly know anything the kind as civic sense.  Towards Mandi Morr, the garbage has become a part of the environment.

Tayyab Abbas who has just gotten off a bus coming from Faisalabad at the Mandi Morr expresses his utter disbelief at the ugliness of the area. “I cannot believe this is a part of the capital… the garbage and smell is simply unbearable,” he told The Nation.

According to a recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency, the area of Mandi Morr along with sector I-9 is the worst pollution-hit area of the capital city. The survey reveals that the situation is due to a poorly-managed garbage collection in this area of the city. As the ugly state continues to hold the people of the area hostage with impunity, the question arises as to whether the CDA or MCI is really prepared to deal with the menace. The Authority has a responsibility to clear garbage on daily basis and that is the only way the capital city can be clean. Raja Bazaar: On the other side, the service road along the IJP road from the green belt bisecting sector I-10 and I-11 to the end of sector I-11/4, gives look of a retail market as the vendors have set up roadside stalls in connivance with the CDA staff.

Initially, the fruit vendors started their business along the service road at Mandi Morr but now the area has turned into a full-fledged roadside market where one can buy fruit, vegetable, garments, plastic toys, mobiles, eatables, sportswear, shoes, jersey, sweater, decoration pieces, and other items. The vendors have occupied the space along the service road so actively that the passersby now have to sneak through the stalls to cross the road. With a number of of van stands at the edge of the service road, the stall-holders have made it even more difficult for the road-users to pass the road.

Space for the road-users has been narrowing with each passing day as the vendors continue moving from the green belt to the edge of the service road. It’s like passing through the Raja Bazaar of Rawalpindi.

With a free hand from the concerned department of the CDA, the vendors have been expanding along the main IJP Road towards Khayaban-e-Sir Syed. There is always a traffic jam at the Mandi Morr junction.

The area has also become an abode for criminals as pickpocketers, vehicle-lifters roam the junction. Van conductors would be found frowning at the passing women and making vulgar gestures. Beggars would do disgusting things to force one to give them some money. The Mandi Morr area is nothing but a blot on the face of “Islamabad the Beautiful”.