ISLAMABAD: Third time’s the charm, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) believes, as it gears up to establish a food park in the lap of Margalla Hills.
Located in Kaleenjar Valley behind the Naval Complex, the food park will also serve as a recreational point amidst the serene beauty of the hills. Work on the project has already started, a CDA official told The Express Tribune.
“The initiative has been taken as the Melody Food Park has lost its attraction due to multiple reasons,” said a CDA official on Sunday. He added that the valley was ideal for the new food park as the authority has a sizeable strip of land in its possession there.
The food park in Melody attracted around 7,000 visitors daily in the beginning. Melody’s popularity suffered following the siege of Lal Masjid in 2007 and a blast in Melody Market in 2008.
Another project in the city’s business hub Blue Area, a food court, also failed to gain traction.
The new project is being designed by prominent architect Arif Masood and he is expected to complete the initial plans in a week, said the CDA official. Once the design is complete, it would be tabled before the CDA Board, which would suggest amendments. The CDA has also consulted traders about the viability of the project and received a satisfying response due to its attractive location, the official said.
It would be accessible through a road passing by the boundary wall of PAF Complex which is also being used by villagers of Kaleenjar currently.
“The park is not being developed for high-end consumers, rather it would be affordable for all kinds of people,” said the official. He hoped that the project would be as successful as the Saidpur Village, which was remodelled in 2006 by the CDA. A number of high-end restaurants have opened shop in the village.
Responding to a question on whether the project would draw any criticism for degrading flora and fauna, the official said it does not involve any massive construction.
“Since all food huts would be made from hedges, it would in fact enrich the valley’s beauty by giving it a rustic look,” he remarked.
He admitted that the project site falls in the Margalla Hills National Park; however, he assured that the project will not threaten endangered species’ population in the park.
Responding to a question on whether the CDA was in a position to finance the project, he said the project does not involve huge funds. In fact, the civic agency is expecting to generate revenue from the project in the form of rent from food outlets.
Kaleenjar Valley is home to various species, such as monkeys, barking deer, grey goral, wild boar, jackal, birds, reptiles, snakes and a variety of butterflies.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2012.