Misplaced priorities: Gor Gathri turns into a parking lot again

The department has asked MCP to shift its vehicles saying it disturbs tourist activities.

Baseer Qalandar February 24, 2014
The historical old door of Gor Gathri, Peshawar. PHOTO: ONLINE


The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Archaeology Department has complained to the Municipal Corporation Peshawar (MCP) about dumpers and other vehicles parked at the historic Gor Gathri compound. The department has asked MCP to shift its vehicles, saying it disturbs tourist activities.

Asim Khan, the compound’s caretaker, told The Express Tribune 25 MCP vehicles, including eight dumper trucks, have been parked at Gor Gathri for the last four days. He said the number of visitors has gone down because of the parked vehicles.

A senior official of the archaeology department, speaking on the condition of anonymity, shared that this is the second time the municipal administration used the same place as a parking lot. “We renovated Gor Gathri to attract more tourists but the district administration does not care about our efforts,” said the official.

According to an archaeologist wishing anonymity, the municipal corporation should take the issue seriously as it is the government’s responsibility to protect local heritage sites.

District administration official Rashid Ahmad Khan told The Express Tribune he has ordered the tehsil municipal administration of Town-I to provide an alternate garage for the MCP dumpers on a priority basis rather than leaving them at Gor Gathri. The provincial government has recently provided them with vehicles and equipment for the city’s maintenance, shared Khan, including mechanical sweepers, mini dumpers, sewer suction machines and garbage compactors, but they have no space to store and park them,

He added the district administration convened a meeting to allocate space for the vehicles and has earmarked 25 kanals adjacent to the Peshawar Bus Terminal for possibly establishing a garage and a workshop for the vehicles.

Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Inayatullah Khan said the government handed over the solid waste management equipment to the municipal administration for use in 23 union councils (UC). He added the machinery will also be provided to the remaining UCs of Peshawar including, 183 dumpers by June this year.

The equipment has been provided under the Municipal Service Programme (MSP), a project jointly funded by the K-P government and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The minister appreciated USAID’s support and promised the MSP would bring about a visible change in how municipal services are provided in the provincial capital through the MCP. The five-year $84 million MSP will improve the capacity of the provincial government to manage key services, especially water and sanitation systems.

In July 2013, MCP officials broke locks placed by the archaeology department and parked around 50 sanitation vehicles, including heavy tankers and garbage trucks, at the city’s most important archaeological landmark.

The locks had reportedly been placed on the directions of senior officials of the archaeology department in order to prevent Gor Gathri from being turned into a parking lot.

An official of the archaeology department had said then that the trucks posed a threat to both gates of the complex, which date back to the Mughal period.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2014.


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