Metro Bus Project Islamabad/Rawalpindi is a bigger disaster environmentally and speaks volumes of the erroneous priorities of the government reflective of their flawed development strategy, said Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo in a statement issued here. He said that Punjab Chief Minister was engaged in undermining the historical façade of the cities under his misplaced narrative of development, he added.
He observed that development is justified on the parameters of improvement and not at the altar of severing historical and cultural links of the metropolis through such projects.
He said that the cost of the project of Rawalpindi/Islamabad had been projected as Rs.24 billion which was more than six times as the Asian Development Bank study worked out the cost around Rs. 4 billions. The silence of government over this was disturbing because no clarification was issued by the government. The Prime Minister may direct to address the issues raised at the earliest, he added.
Punjab Chief Minister passion for mega projects is understandable but serious allegations levelled by important quarters should be looked into adding the government should have taken the notice of it much earlier.
The other contour of the project was that it had put the people of Islamabad in great discomfort because the diversion of the routes was senseless and takes much time for them to reach their offices or destinations. The scale of the digging gives the look of a battle field than “Islamabad the beautiful”, he observed.
Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo rejected the idea of building new roads for the proposed project because there was enough space in Islamabad roads for carving out a bus-lane solely dedicated to the buses only. The problem of the daily commuters would have been solved with a fraction of the cost, he pointed out.
He lamented the authorities that that like the Lahore Expressway Train project the Rawalpindi/Islamabad project lacks the input of the civil society which was always valuable because the people take the ownership of such projects if taken into confidence. The criticism of the projects would have been taken care of if the projects have been discussed threadbare in all relevant forums of the society.
Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo expressed his anger and frustration over the uprooting of thousands of trees to start the civil work for the project adding this reckless murder of tree would spite the beautiful face of the capital.