By Imran Naeem Ahmad
ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has its coffers overflowing with cash yet it continues to go for revenue generation from advertising thereby compromising on town’s beauty.
The roads that were once tree-lined today have scores of advertisements pasted on lampposts, the street corners too are increasingly being used for this purpose as are the bridges, rooftops of buildings and every other place that the authorities deem fit.
The Jinnah and Faisal avenues, Islamabad and Kashmir highways, 7th Avenue and Zero Point bridges are among the spots that have particularly heavy advertising that might be quite pleasing for the CDA bosses, it in fact makes the town look not only commercial but ugly all the same.
Driving through on the Jinnah Avenue is like journeying through Pakistan with string of images of the country having been put up in the middle of almost all the lampposts.
Such advertising is clearly distracting for motorists using the busy road. Interestingly, research shows that people do not respond to such messages like they do to advertisements in newspapers.
The advertisements do not fit into the landscape of the town traditionally known for its greenery. They seem more of an eyesore and do not appear to serve much purpose.
Commercialism is not confined to roads and lampposts though – cigarette companies often sponsor police kiosks and pickets, leading cell phone companies have built two of Islamabad’s floral markets. Similarly, a cell phone giant has also sponsored a craftsmen’s village close to Super Market.
Although several of the mighty billboards that were put up earlier atop buildings have been removed because of security fears, there are many that are still up, especially in Blue Area.
The billboards that look particularly ugly from behind with their huge supporting rusty metal poles and bars, first came up before the South Asian Games that Islamabad hosted in 2004. The CDA officials claim there is a complete ban on the installation of billboards since May 2005.
While increasing commercialisation is spoiling Islamabad’s looks, the cell phone towers erected on top of buildings have become another ugly feature of the town. They are not just eyesores but also pose danger to buildings on which they are mounted besides also endangering the public.
Experts are of the view that the waves from these towers were slow killers and that people living close by remained under constant threat. They believe that these antennas, some of them 80 feet long had been installed without following proper procedures.
Source: Daily Times, 16/4/2008