Coming soon: For Islamabadis, a new food park in the lap of Margalla Hills

Published: March 26, 2012
The food park will also serve as a recreational point amidst the serene beauty of the hills. PHOTOS: ALI ANSARI

The food park will also serve as a recreational point amidst the serene beauty of the hills. PHOTOS: ALI ANSARI

ISLAMABAD: Third time’s the charm, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) believes, as it gears up to establish a food park in the lap of Margalla Hills.

Located in Kaleenjar Valley behind the Naval Complex, the food park will also serve as a recreational point amidst the serene beauty of the hills. Work on the project has already started, a CDA official told The Express Tribune.

“The initiative has been taken as the Melody Food Park has lost its attraction due to multiple reasons,” said a CDA official on Sunday. He added that the valley was ideal for the new food park as the authority has a sizeable strip of land in its possession there.

The food park in Melody attracted around 7,000 visitors daily in the beginning. Melody’s popularity suffered following the siege of Lal Masjid in 2007 and a blast in Melody Market in 2008.

Another project in the city’s business hub Blue Area, a food court, also failed to gain traction.

The new project is being designed by prominent architect Arif Masood and he is expected to complete the initial plans in a week, said the CDA official. Once the design is complete, it would be tabled before the CDA Board, which would suggest amendments. The CDA has also consulted traders about the viability of the project and received a satisfying response due to its attractive location, the official said.

It would be accessible through a road passing by the boundary wall of PAF Complex which is also being used by villagers of Kaleenjar currently.

“The park is not being developed for high-end consumers, rather it would be affordable for all kinds of people,” said the official. He hoped that the project would be as successful as the Saidpur Village, which was remodelled in 2006 by the CDA. A number of high-end restaurants have opened shop in the village.

Responding to a question on whether the project would draw any criticism for degrading flora and fauna, the official said it does not involve any massive construction.

“Since all food huts would be made from hedges, it would in fact enrich the valley’s beauty by giving it a rustic look,” he remarked.

He admitted that the project site falls in the Margalla Hills National Park; however, he assured that the project will not threaten endangered species’ population in the park.

Responding to a question on whether the CDA was in a position to finance the project, he said the project does not involve huge funds. In fact, the civic agency is expecting to generate revenue from the project in the form of rent from food outlets.

Kaleenjar Valley is home to various species, such as monkeys, barking deer, grey goral, wild boar, jackal, birds, reptiles, snakes and a variety of butterflies.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Uzair
    Mar 26, 2012 - 12:41PM

    Can’t we enjoy nature without building restaurants in its midst? No matter how “rustic” the construction, it will still be a food spot where people will indulge in our favorite pastime and likely cause environmental harm to the surroundings. Why can’t we enjoy nature without building “food streets” in it?


  • Citizen
    Mar 26, 2012 - 5:03PM

    With travel and recreation comes food . So food parks are good idea to attract people to new spots . Its duty of citizens to protect and enjoy the environment it , NOT to destroy it. Looking forward to New food street opening.


  • ProudPakistani
    Mar 26, 2012 - 7:38PM

    Margalla hills are not only limited to Keenjar valley so those who are showing their concerns about the environment might enjoy natural beauty any where else in Margalla hills…We don’t need to criticize every issue…


  • Humaira Jadoon
    Mar 26, 2012 - 9:37PM

    ‘Citizen’ and ‘Proud Pakistani’ you both are quite innocent are nt you. If the CDA turns areas of a National Park to build food streets like this , there will be not much left for the future generations . Go and look at the degradation caused by Monal restaurant which caters to only the rich who can afford Rs 600 burger. The wife of one of the former CDA Charman is a partner of Monal. This has nothing to do with providing entertainment places and promotion of tourism but everything to do with who is making money out of these business ventures. The foreign Minister of Pakistan owns a high end restaurant at Saidpur and all the 6 or 7 restaurants there belong to the rich and famous of Islamabad. CDA is saying these will be huts and not high end restaurants but at the end of the day they will also only cater to the well to do . Like all the other projects of CDA in Islamabad. For just a few privileged one the Margallah National Parks environment should not be destroyed and we need more ‘Responsible’ citizens and “proud Pakistanis’ who know how to protect the natural resources of their country


  • Awais Ch
    Mar 26, 2012 - 11:07PM

    Oooooooooops!!! saidpur village is already there, isn’t that enough? CDA please forget about margalla hills, let it be the natural beauty.


  • YN
    Mar 27, 2012 - 10:55AM

    Is there any plan in the CDA books to establish children library in place of the one demolished adjacent to lal masjid?


  • Doosam
    Mar 28, 2012 - 12:05AM

    how much will they eat?


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