ISLAMABAD: Bara Kahu, a locality in the suburbs of the capital with a population of 0.1 million, is still lacking the basic amenities of life. The area falls under the territorial limits of Islamabad but has been deprived of natural gas, proper roads, clean drinking water and public transport facilities for many years now.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Harris Saboor, a resident of Nai Abadi, Bara Kahu said that he had been living in there for over 10 years and the situation had witnessed negligible progress.
“Every time before the elections, political representatives promise major uplifts for the area but after votes have been cast, the area is forgotten,” he said.
Shahida Nazir, a housewife, lamented the non-availability of gas in the area and said that the situation was worse in winters. “It is really difficult to survive in the cold weather without gas and the constant increase in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is only making matters worse,” she said.
Nazir said that price of LPG had shot up to Rs125 per kilogram which was unaffordable for middle and lower-middle class families. “Prices of every thing have gone up, but at least the basic amenities should be provided at a reasonable cost,” she said.
Moreover, Muhammad Shabbir, a resident of PTV Colony in Barah Kahu, said, “All of the politicians claiming to have done massive development in the country, should see the conditions we live in at a 15-minute-drive from the Parliament House.”
Highlighting the frail network of roads connecting the area, he said that these dilapidated roads and the apathy of concerned authorities had made life difficult for commuters. “Construction of a bridge that will connect Barah Kahu to Murree Road has been stalled for unknown reasons, and projects that started years ago have not been completed,” he said.
“There is only one narrow entrance from Uthal Chowk for the people living adjacent to Simly Dam Road, which goes through a busy and crowded bazaar, and during the rainy season this road looks like a dirty pond due to the faulty sewerage system,” he added.
Meanwhile, the elected representative of the area and Member National Assembly Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry blamed the lack of fund for their inability to provide basic facilities. “We are fully aware of the improper sewerage system, lack of natural gas and damaged roads, but political influences are inhibiting our ability to help the people,” he said.
Chaudhry said that gas was being provided only to people with strong political background and extra money.
“The government has allocated Rs20-30 million as development budget for 130 villages and 12 union councils which is not at all sufficient to cater to the needs of residents,” he said.
Similarly, Hassan Abbas, Regional Director Local Government, cited paucity of funds as the main reason for the lack of development work. “Construction of roads requires a lot of money and we cannot spend all of the money allocated for rural areas on just one road,” he said.
Even the traffic wardens were wary of the deteriorating situation at Uthal Chowk. With the increasing number of vehicles and encroachments on the narrow decrepit road, Riffat Shahan, an on-duty police official said, “Even we feel victimised, the government should built underpasses, bridges, roads to make life easier for us as well as the commuters.”
Pubished in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2010.
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