MULTAN - District Coordination Officer (DCO) Naseem Sadiq has disclosed that a housing scheme for the poor is on the cards as all out measures are being adopted to offer relief to the unprivileged citizens.

Talking to The Nation/Nawa-e-Waqt here the other day, he said that a proposal to launch a housing scheme on the pattern of Faisalabad was under serious consideration. “At least 300 four-marla housing units were donated to the poor citizens in Faisalabad. The government did not spend even a single penny on the project and everything was arranged by the philanthropists,” he disclosed.

To a question on poor condition of roads, he said it happened because of negligence of Wasa contractors as they disappeared after receiving their payments. He added that the same contractors completed patch work without any charges on his intervention. He said that he was determined to uplift the areas that lacked basic amenities. “Provision of facilities to the poor localities and katchi abadis stand at the top of my priority,” he added.

Giving details of ongoing development projects, he said that land acquisition for Humayun Road-BCG Chowk Road project had been started.

“It is for the first time that the district administration has set up a camp to make on spot payments to the project affectees and protect them from exploitation of touts,” he added. He said that a beautiful park would be established at Kabootar Mandi area to turn a highly polluted place green.

Referring to Qila Qasim Bagh restoration project, he said that according to the initial estimate the project cost Rs130 million but the cost went down to Rs90 million after his intervention. “And now it has further dropped to Rs70 million,” he added. He disclosed that a patch of four Kanal of land was found behind the shrine of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya and district government wanted to acquire it. “It will be used for the revival of historic status of Multan Fort,” he disclosed.

Answering a question, he said that Damdama was a historic monument and therefore the plan to set up a restaurant was dropped. “Instead an art gallery will be established so that the students visiting Qila could learn about the history and culture of Multan,” he added.

Answering a question on walled city conservation project, he said that he disagreed with the plan presented by the Italian delegation to conserve the city on European pattern and asked them to let Multan remain Multan. He said that 240 crumbling buildings were located in walled city area during the survey but nothing could be done until alternate arrangements were made for the inmates.

To a query, he said that although 10 big parties were caught, yet a lot had to be done to eliminate adulteration. He further revealed that Rs100 million arrears were recovered from General Bus Stand in just eight days and projects worth Rs140 million were launched at the same place. He said that green belts were being developed in entire city, expressing his hope that the residents of Multan would look after this pleasant change.

He said that he received an unprecedented response from the public that encouraged him to do more for the residents of Multan.