RAWALPINDI: With bright lights, stylized flower pots and tastefully painted segments, work to upgrade and beautify Rawalpindi’s oldest and main thoroughfare, Murree Road, has started to show.
With a deadline to finish the first phase of the project before Eidul Fitr, around 25% of work to improve the road, from Faizabad Bridge to Chandni Chowk in Rawalpindi, has been completed.
The government had decided to enhance the road by beautifying it during a visit of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to Rawalpindi last month.
The provincial chief executive has now told Asif Mahmood, chief of the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) of the city, to directly contact him if he faces any hurdles in improving the road. As part of the PHA’s efforts to beautify the road, a gate with the warm words ‘welcome’ written in large lettering, has been erected on the boundary between Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Murree Road.
The motifs used in the design of the gate trace their origins from the traditional art of the Potohar region.
Under the Faizabad bridge, the walls, pillars and roof have been painted with bright colours while colourful, LED lights have been installed which brighten up the area at night while presenting interesting designs.
Moreover, colourful flowers have been planted along the roads while benches have been installed on the sidewalks in collaboration with the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University.
Further, art installations depicting Punjab’s culture in general and Potohar region’s culture in particular, have been set up.
A few statues of animals have also been placed for the interest of children.
PHA Chairman Asif Mahmood said that they are working to improve the look of the centuries-old Murree Road from Saddar to the Army Stadium.
He further claimed that they will not be using any state funds for this project. He added that unlike past regimes when beautification drives were undertaken, they will also work to maintain the renovated state of the thoroughfare. For this purpose, he stated that they will depute PHA staff along the road who will be tasked with maintaining the look of the road.
Apart from on Murree Road, he said that they will also improve the façade of Rawat, which serves as another entry point to the garrison city. A ‘Bab-e-Potohar’ (Potohar gate) will be built there. He added that when Buzdar passed through Murree Road on Thursday evening and saw the work done, he was appreciative and assured to provide PHA will all the support it needed to meet its deadline.
Pindi’s heritage to be preserved
Separately, Rawalpindi Commissioner Joudat Ayaz has said that they were considering proposals for the beautification of the city and preserving its historical buildings apart from a host of development works.
In a meeting on Friday, Ayaz said that they were working to remove the encroachment in the city, set up food streets, start work on the Leh Expressway, shifting the wholesale markets improved waste management, managing flow of traffic, upgrading parks, widening footpaths and roads and re-carpeting of broken roads. He urged the different departments to cooperate with one another for this purpose. He also welcomed the announcement from the Punjab government to set up a task force for Rawalpindi.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2019.
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