SC rebukes CDA for poor performance

Civic body given one-month time to improve the situation


Our Correspondent April 05, 2019
Supreme Court. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The top court on Thursday rebuked the civic agency of the federal capital for turning the city into a garbage dump while failing to implement the directives of the court.

The court directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to remove encroachment from the city and regularise the structures which need to be regularised.

This was stated by a two-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed and including Justice Umar Ata Bandial, as they heard the suo moto case into the unplanned and unregistered construction in Bani Gala, national park area and grant of commercial leases by the CDA.

During the hearing on Thursday, Justice Ahmed asked why does the court have to wake CDA up, why does the CDA not do its own work.

He further observed that the civic agency was not implementing its orders. At this, Justice Bandial asked about the progress made regarding the sewerage system of the city.

With the CDA Chairman and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Chief Commissioner Amir Ali Ahmed not present in the court at the time, the court went for a recess as it summoned the CDA chief.

When proceedings resumed, the court turned to the CDA chief and said that you have turned Rawal Dam into a gutter.

Justice Ahmed asked whether the government has any writ left in Islamabad, adding that the Kashmir Highway has been destroyed while only streets in the Blue Area are in good condition.

There is dirt in all sectors of the federal capital, I will visit each and every lane myself and examine, if this remains the case, then watch what I do, Justice Ahmed remarked.

“The condition of Islamabad was worse than Karachi and Lahore,” he remarked.

He added that the Rawal dam’s water was emitting a strong stench, adding that only the poor go to the lake for entertainment.

“Have you ever visited Rawal Lake to see its condition. Your performance is extremely disappointing,” Justice Ahmed remarked, adding, “If you are not capable of handling this position, you should go somewhere else.”

He further remarked that the CDA appears to only care about the recreation and comfort of the rich

Justice Ahmed further told the CDA chairman that he will have to demolish all illegal constructions at any cost while those structures which can be regularised, must be regularized.

He asked the CDA chairman whether the court’s orders had been implemented. At this, the CDA chief responded that they were not fully implemented.

This caused Justice Ahmed to remark that when court orders have not been implemented, then why are you on the seat?

Justice Ahmed, who hails from Karachi and was elevated to the Supreme Court in 2011, remarked that he thought that the land mafia was only in Karachi, but it seems that this mafia has also entrenched itself in Islamabad.

He further asked the CDA chief to go and observe the area around the new Islamabad International Airport where narrow streets and lanes have appeared.

Forests and mountains in Bhara Kahu and Bani Gala have been destroyed, Justice Ahmed observed, adding that the SC had to save the Margalla Hills.

“There should have been parks and walking tracks nearby, however, there is only garbage in Islamabad,” he remarked.

Justice Bandial noted that there should be a system to tackle the waste generated by the commercial and residential areas of the city.

The CDA chairman told the court they had identified a site to build a landfill in Sangjiani area of the federal capital and that a team from the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) will visit it the same day.

Justice Ahmed sought a timeline for the CDA to implement orders of the court.

At this, the CDA chief said that he would be able to implement the court’s decisions within a month. He also clarified that he had received a plot from CDA.

Justice Ahmed remarked that the court should not be given any lollipops. “We want work, not excuses,” he said, adding that work on the Kashmir Highway has been pending for the past seven years.

On the CDA chairman’s plea, the court adjourned the case for a month.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2019.

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