Iftekhar A. Khan The LDA under chief minister's instructions recently published a page long opinion poll in newspapers for the citizens to comment on commercialisation of 58 roads in the city. How many would comment on the abstruse document is anybody's guess. However, what we observe is the haphazard growth of concrete jungle of ugly high-rise buildings and grotesque plazas on every nook and corner of the city. By looking at such plazas without peeping inside, one can form an opinion about the owners, architects and those who approve designs of the eyesores. One such horseshoe shaped on the Kalima Chowk explains. With time, most roads in the city have begun to look like a contiguous bazaar. Why commercialise the metropolis? Perhaps the intent behind it is to extort fat commercialisation fees, which is objectionable enough. Time-serving hasty decisions are not easy to reverse. Pervez Elahi's impulsive decision to build chief minister's secretariat at GOR was one such. To say the least, its pomp and splendour is disharmonious with the overall poverty that engulfs majority of the nation. But the behemoth reminiscent of ill planning is here to stay. When planning shopping plazas, setting up of a CNG stations, and establishing schools, the neighbours on both sides must have the option to approve or disapprove the proposals because they later bear the direct consequences of the mess the commercial activity creates. Not many would like to live next to a CNG station for all its hazards or a shopping plaza for its traffic mess. Look at the traffic snarl-up and commotion near the private schools in the residential areas, which is enough to drive peaceful senior citizens insane. Who is to blame for it if not the rapacious entrepreneurs and sleazy operators in the civic body approving it? One must question the zealous chief minister, who is otherwise effective, directly. Hasn't he lived abroad? Hasn't he observed how the shopping malls, offices, schools, colleges and universities are located away from the residential areas? One does not blame the underlings as much as the lynchpin who conceives the main project. Instead of dreaming to modernise the city by commercialising various roads, city godfathers must first answer for discharging sewage into the city canal. Believably more than 40 housing schemes throw the excremental matter in it. Has anyone observed the water continues to flow when the irrigation department had temporarily shut down the canal? It's raw sewage. Come sizzling summers, thousands, particularly the young, flock to the canal to bathe and dive in it. Sewage-mixed water invariably ingresses into their system, which is a known source of Hepatitis. A teenager would most likely suffer from it when he reached his 30s. And Hepatitis is not easy to cure in a country already deficient in healthcare. The Punjab government will do well to put up notices along the canal 'Sewage-polluted water. Bathe at your own risk'. However, projects undertaken in public interest deserve recognition. Building a motorway was an excellent idea had new cities and industrial towns at suitable sites alongside it developed. During Chaudhry Brothers' sway, a large arable tract near Sheikhupura was set aside for requisition to set up the European car assembling plant. Thank God, it didn't materialise. But look at the decision to bring fertile paddy growing land under industrialisation. For the purpose, a vast tract between river Chenab ahead of Bhera and Kalar Kahar would have been the appropriate choice. The barren rocky land had motorway access, power and water available hence an excellent location for establishing a new industrial city. Punjab government may consider it in future. Then, among other roads, Multan road from Thokar Niazbeg to Chung and a few miles beyond is already declared as industrial area in the LDA's layout plan. Businesses and industries along its both sides existed much before the LDA was instituted in seventies. Besides, industrial units take large space compared with shops and plazas. To ask industry to commercialise would be counterproductive. Industrial areas and estates declared as such don't need to commercialise. More so, industry is already in doldrums because of power outage and numerous other taxes, why bedevil it further? Politicians must keep in mind that they would be remembered by their good deeds in the public interest rather than in their own. Motorway forever would remain Nawaz Sharif's legacy. Some who came later only inscribed their names on the plaques. People remember Ayub Khan more for building Mangla and Tarbela dams and for industrialising the country than for conceiving beautiful Islamabad. Ayub's foibles are obliterated from the public mind on the sight of millions of cusecs of water gushing down the two dams. Without them, the blackout would have been even worse and famine nation's fate. Wish General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, instead of playing 'terror terror' and enjoying song and dance had built the Kalabagh Dam. He also ran is about all people would remember him by. Those opposing the Kalabagh Dam would be gone before long, but their legacy of blackout will survive. It depends how one'd like to be remembered when interred. The writer is a freelance columnist E-mail: pinecity@gmail.com