Sector G-7: A picture of CDA’s neglect

UC-30 chairman says civic body ignores development work despite requests


A view of Sector G-7 Children Park where CDA has put no grill or boundary along an open nullah. PHOTO: ZAFAR ASLAM

ISLAMABAD: As dengue season rolls around, a faulty drain in Sector G-7 of the capital has made life miserable for residents.

In 2008, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had allocated Rs11.4 million to clear a storm drain, lying between lanes 32 and 33 of Sector G-7 of the federal capital, which had been choked.

However, owing to the alleged lethargy of the CDA, the estimated cost of clearing the drain nearly a decade later has risen to Rs17 million.

Local residents, though, are still hopeful that the CDA and the recently formed Islamabad Municipal Corporation (IMC) will wake up and resolve the issue.

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Located in Union Council 30, the storm drain is a tragedy waiting to happen. The most recent tragedy to be averted was when two children fell into it.

Rescue officials, though, managed to recover the children before they drowned.

Sandwiched by parks along its banks, the storm drain poses a constant threat to children playing there. Moreover, the heaps of trash littering the drain mean it is a magnet for a host of diseases.

Demands by the residents of UC-30 to cover the drain have gone unheeded. A threat to besiege the parliament too did not yield any movement from either the CDA chairman or the IMC mayor.

A survey conducted by Roznama Express in UC-30 showed that it is home to some 70,000 residents, including 28,000 who are registered to vote.

UC-30 Chairman Chaudhry Naeem Ali, a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has resorted to the use of technology to communicate with residents, and for the latter to lodge their complaints with the former.

Ali relies on text messages sent by Sector G-7 residents to direct his attention to pressing problems of the impoverished locality.

At one point, the UC chairman used to receive around 60 and 70 messages of complaints a day from the UC. However, the promptness of the complaint system, and subsequent promptness of the response of resolving of issues, however, has contributed to a drastic fall in that number.

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Even though Ali is from of the ruling PML-N, getting the CDA bureaucracy to work with the IMC or to help elected representatives solve issues of the public has been a challenge.

“For some people, CDA is a hen which lays golden eggs,” the UC chairman commented in swipe at the mayor who maintained dual offices of mayor and CDA chairman for nearly two years until he was kicked out from the CDA hot seat in late December 2017 by the Islamabad High Court which ruled that his appointment was illegal.

Ali added that the civic authority was reluctant to relinquish authority or funds to any other body, especially the IMC — which has taken over charge of some CDA departments.

Such has been the tussle between the IMC and the CDA that the government did not even allot any funds for the elected body in the annual budget, instead, leaving it at the mercy of the civic body. Penniless, the elected representatives have also been left without a roof with complaints against the CDA and the IMC for failing to provide UC chairmen with offices to work out of.

“They have finally made a UC office,” the chairman remarked in monotone.

“However, there is no one for secretarial work at this office,” he added quickly, making the point that four walls and a door an office do not make.

He lamented that the CDA was not spending to develop the UC even though five per cent tax is charged from its residents.

The CDA has not revamped the streets of Sector G-7 since 1990, the chairman complained, adding that the authorities just do not pay any heed to their issues despite repeated complaints.

“People come to us for even the most trivial issue, they have stopped visiting CDA’s inquiry offices because they never get their issues addressed,” the UC chairman lamented.

“The [CDA] authorities ensure public spaces are maintained in ‘F’ sectors of Islamabad, but their performance remains abysmal when it comes to the ‘G’ sectors of the capital,” he complained.

UC-30 has four parks for which CDA has allocated eight workers. However, only one worker is practically seen working.

The council also has a gym and a large supply of equipment, but the authorities appear to be negligent in opening or maintaining the facility.

Apart from the limited supply of water to the area, Ali pointed out that public schools in the area have a shortage of teachers and furniture while there was a dire need to improve the standards of education at the schools.

However, Ali did note that provision of water and street lighting had improved since his election.

“Over 80 per cent of [street] lights have been repaired,” the chairman claimed, adding that the council did not spare anyone involved in encroachments of public spaces. Moreover, work was underway to replace broken water and sewerage lines.

Local residents told Roznama Express said that owing to the lack of interest from the CDA, the government quarters set up in the area are in a pitiable condition. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2018.

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