ISLAMABAD: A sub-panel of parliamentarians has expressed serious concerns about the persistent flow of pollution into the Rawal Dam, spreading hepatitis and other diseases in Rawalpindi.
The Senate Sub-Committee on Cabinet Secretariat met with convener Senator Kulsoom Parveen in the chair at the Parliament House on Monday.
The committee was told that waste from poultry farms, animal dung and untreated sewerage from Murree and other adjoining areas was flowing into the Rawal Lake untreated which was resulting in several diseases in Rawalpindi including fasting spreading hepatitis.
The committee’s members expressed concern over green belts vanishing in the capital and summoned officials from the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) and representatives of the affectees of private housing societies to attend the next meeting of the committee to share their problems
The committee also reviewed changes in Master Plan of Islamabad.
Senator Parveen said that Islamabad Zone-IV had several private housing societies, but most of these had been established illegally. Noting that the committee was reviewing all these illegal housing societies, she alleged that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had permitted influentials to build large bungalows and farmhouses in some of these housing societies, while the civic authority was restricting others from doing the same.
She added that last year the Capital Administration and Development Division (1CADD) had submitted a summary which suggested that selected people had been allowed to construct houses in the area, terming this suggestion as a relief for general people. Parveen asked the CDA to take proper action to have the summary approved.
CDA officials explained that they had taken several measures to curb illegal housing societies in the capital and that such societies cannot get utility connections, nor can they advertise their schemes in the media.
The CDA officials further said that authority was strictly implementing building codes for construction of buildings now.
CDA Member Planning Asad Kiyani said that construction within a two-kilometre radius of Rawal Dam was banned.
At this, Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that hundreds of buildings have already been built in the area and urged the CDA to take proper and effective measures for providing safe and clean drinking water to the people.
Senator Parveen added that former Senate Chairman Muhammad Mian Somroo was building a charity hospital in Chattha Bakhtawar for the poor, but the CDA had failed to provide it with gas, electricity or other utilities. The committee directed CDA to take action in this regard.
The sub-committee also decided to invite some affectees of the Supreme Court Housing Society, Jammu & Kashmir and Overseas Housing Societies to the next meeting of the sub-committee to learn about the difficulties they were facing.
Senator Agha alleged that members of the land mafia allegedly resort to aerial firing at night Bani Gala and resident were left feeling threatened.
He urged the CDA to take action against members of these land mafias and introduce an alternate sewerage system to keep dirty water from draining into the Rawal Lake.
Insufficient health care
Senator Parveen said that two major hospitals of Islamabad, including the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and Poly Clinic had been set up to cater to around 300,000 people – the population of Islamabad some 20 years ago. But now, with the population of the capital ballooning to2.1 million, the health facilities for residents of Islamabad were insufficient.
Taking note of the ongoing strike of medical and non-medical staff at Pims, Senator Parveen deplored the callous and merciless attitude of doctors, noting that it had no precedence in the modern history of health. She said that thousands of patients had been left without treatment, claiming that it caused several deaths.
The senator urged the district administration to take the issue seriously and resolve it as soon as possible.
Committee members were told that owing to the construction of residential schemes and roads, the green belts in the capital were on the verge of complete destruction.
At this committee member expressed serious concerns and decided to discuss the matter in next meeting in detail.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2017.
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