ISLAMABAD: Apparently all seems well with Islamabad – new roads and new facilities, tree-lined streets, the green and serene Margalla Hills and the peace and quiet that has been its hallmark for decades. But all is not well.
The town’s famed beauty is perhaps only skin-deep for behind its green cloak hide a bulk of problems and eyesores that expose the town’s claims of being truly modern and beautiful.
Away from those wide inviting boulevards and away from where the VIPs move too and fro, lies the real face of Islamabad, not downright ugly but dirty and unkempt. These are the low-scale areas, which for long have been given a raw deal by Capital Development Authority (CDA).
From water taps running dry to garbage and overflowing gutters, faulty streetlights and narrow streets, the residents of such areas as G-7, I-9, I-10 continue to suffer as a result of CDA’s indifference.
CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari admits that there are problems in those sectors but says there’s a reason for it. “Yes, there is more litter, more sewerage issues because of the pressure of the number of people living there, a lack of civic sense and income levels – all these things multiply in creating those problems,” he told Daily Times on Monday.
Water remains one of Islamabad’s foremost problems, as now is electricity because of the rapid growth of the town but fortunately, the CDA is now seemingly moving to sort out at least the water and sewerage issues.
“We are relaying and replacing water and sewerage pipelines and although this might take time, we have fully activated ourselves on this,” Lashari said. A study has been conducted for a permanent solution to the problem and foreign consultants have been hired for the project.
Islamabad gets its water from the Simly and Khanpur dams.
“We get 75 percent of our water from there while some of it comes from tube wells and other sources,” said Lashari, adding that since underground water was not available, tube wells were not the solution.
With both dams being rain-fed, the water supply is generally better when it rains but otherwise the problem remains, even the posh sectors getting their supplies through water tankers.
One of the problems is Islamabad’s location, as it does not have any rivers flowing close by which prompts the need for reaching out to a permanent source. “We conducted studies on this for about a year and the best solution is Ghazi Barotha which means connectivity with the Tarbela Dam,” the CDA chairman said.
While the CDA makes plans for the future, it said last week that frequent power outages were affecting its supply of water to various sectors, especially the ‘I’ series.
“Although tube wells have been installed in residential sectors, acute load shedding disrupts the supplies to the residents,” said a spokesman for the CDA. He said a request had been made to Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (IESCO) for reduction in duration of load shedding.
The CDA, on the other hand, is also thinking of looking into generating its own electricity considering the pace at which the town is expanding. “We are seriously thinking about this option,” Lashari said.