RAWALPINDI: Despite repetitive announcements from the government to build parking plazas to ease the worsening traffic congestion in the garrison city, little progress has been made.
The Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation had acknowledged that there was a need to build as many as 12 parking plazas in the city.
But in their absence, cars continue to crowd out the narrow thoroughfares of Liaquat Road, Iqbal Road, Jinnah Road, Jamia Masjid Road, Circular Road, Syedpur Road, Commercial market, Bagh Road, and Raja Bazar. They have also posed a problem for passers-by.
The ensuing congestion makes the simple task of commuting to the business centres, hospitals, government and non-government offices, and educational institutes an uphill task for residents.
But the local government has been unable to even complete work on one parking plaza. Being built at Fawara Chowk, work on the parking plaza has been stalled for the past few years. Only its basement, ground and first floor have been built.
The government had planned to spend around Rs1 billion to build it with a further injection of Rs52 million from Japanese car manufacturer Suzuki.
However, work on it remains incomplete.
While officials have made several recommendations for completing construction of the parking plaza, operating under the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA), few pragmatic steps have been taken so far.
Rawalpindi Mayor Sardar Naseem Khan, who had announced plans to build a new parking plaza near the former Municipal Corporation office shortly after taking his oath to office, too has appeared powerless to breathe life into his words.
Some have called for including basement or other parking facilities in plans for new buildings being built in the city to natively solve the problem of parking at any new multi-storey structure.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2018.