ISLAMABAD - After tens of thousands of Minhajul Quran activists ended a four-day sit-in at D-Chowk the other night, the employees of the sanitation department of the federal civic agency on early Friday morning moved in quickly to clear the Jinnah Avenue and adjoining green belts off tons of scattered garbage heaped up during the rally.

“A team of 200 sanitary workers along with a fleet of 65 vehicles including dumper bins, handcarts and garbage collector trucks took part in garbage cleaning exercise. Around one hundred tons of garbage is collected from the area,” said a statement issued Friday by the public relations office of the civic body.

Students of several educational institutes, on the occasion, also lent a hand to sanitary workers during their cleanliness exercise. As the normalcy returns to the federal capital, on Friday, the traders of the most affected commercial area, Blue Area, pulled the shutters up of their shops after a brief gap of four days and did routine business.

The CDA spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said on first day of cleanliness operation scattered garbage and human waste from green areas had been removed. He said operation would remain in progress and if it was found necessary parts of the affected area would also be washed with water.

The Environment Wing of the Authority was also accessing the damage cost to the environment, especially the grass planted in the median strip, decorative plants, water sprinkling system and grills along the Jinnah Avenue, Mr Sajid said.

Plastic bottles, bags, wasted food, food packs, sticks and peels of fruits have also been removed from the verandas of the plazas located on both sides of Jinnah Avenue and were occupying by the protesters have also been cleansed.

CDA Spokesperson said during the whole episode damage was also caused to the decorative plants, grass, grills and palm trees on either side of the Avenue.

“CDA will first strive to recover the fallen plants by erecting supports beside these and later additional saplings would also be planted at the road to recover the damages to the city’s environment,” Sajid added.

CDA Chairman Syed Tahir Shahbaz also visited the venue and supervised the cleanliness operation.

Agencies add: Life has returned to normal on Friday here in Capital city after giving a deserted look for almost five days of long march and sit-in by Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and his supporters.

The long march, which had halted nearly all activities of Islamabad including academic, commercial and business etc, returned to normal on Friday. Majority of the markets, business centers, commercial markets, restaurants, schools and government offices remained closed during last three days of long march, specially in surrounding areas of venue of sit-in.

However, people were seen coming back to their offices and shops, but thin attendance was seen at educational institutions. Public transport in city was also seen plying. For many people, the topic during last five days was of course the long march with fears the participants might turn violent and destroy public property.

People living close to Constitution Avenue had braced for a difficult time as there were rumors that the marchers could be potential target for terrorists. “It was very disturbing for us, we prayed a lot that things remained under control and there should be no violence as there is always a chance of trouble whenever such rallies are held, “ said Noor Fatima, a housewife.

Now we are feeling relaxed that things settled in a better way and long marchers had left the venue peacefully, she added. The shopkeepers in Blue Area wrapped up their shop fronts with tents particularly the automobile showrooms that also moved their shiny new products elsewhere to avoid any unpleasant situation.

“The city has seen many political crises but this time things seem different and more volatile,” Ahmad Naseem, a shopkeeper from super market said. Keeping an eye on minute-to-minute developments of the long march, we opted to stay home, glued to television sets while speculating about sit-in and further developments, he said.

A CDA official said the garbage contained plastic bottles, bags, wasted food, foo packs, sticks and peels of fruits. Shahbaz said the CDA would also contact the traders to know whether they needed some cooperation regarding cleanliness as the marchers had also been staying at the pathways of the markets.

The marchers had caused damage to the decorative plants, grass, grills and palm trees on either side of the Avenue. The official said the CDA would first strive to recover the fallen plants by erecting supports beside these and later additional saplings would also be planted at the road to recover the damages to the city’s environment.

Moreover, the CDA’s sprinkling system was also damaged that had been used to water the plants on the Avenue, however repair work has been initiated. A CDA official said the CDA was also estimating the loss incurred by the marchers to the infrastructure and the city administration would also be informed accordingly. However, the official said the loss was affordable by the CDA. The Authority had also allocated a dozen water tankers to cope with needs of the marchers.

Badar, who runs a shop in Blue Area, said stray dogs and cats were wandering to feed on leftover food items. The roads are littered with shopping bags, cigarette butts, broken crockery and empty bottles creating nuisance for everyone. The CDA staffers launched a massive operation to clean up the mess and restore the beauty and cleanliness of Islamabad for which it stands out from rest of the cities.

Chairman Capital Development Authority Syed Tahir Shahbaz Friday cancelled Saturday’s weekly off of its staffers related to the civic management. The workers of the Directorates of Health Services and Sanitation have been directed to join their respective duties on Saturday to take part in the cleanliness operation of the long march venue, said the spokesman of the Authority.

The staffers of the sanitation directorate would further clean Jinnah Avenue and its surroundings as the area had been stinking due to huge garbage around testing nerves of the residents and businessmen. He said the staffers of the Directorate of Health Services would insecticide the whole area by spraying the chemical and lime powder there to avert outbreak of any disease.