Wednesday April 24, 2024

Protest by QAU against Bhara Kahu Bypass continues

By Rasheed Khalid
December 06, 2022

Islamabad:Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Joint Action Committee comprising of Academic Staff Association, Alumni Association, Officers Welfare Association and Employees Welfare Association held a peace walk and protest against the construction of 6-Lane Bhara kahu Bypass on QAU land, for the fourth consecutive day.

The protesters observed that they are not against the public welfare project but insisting on a 6-lane highway through the middle of a national University which is in the Margala Hills National Park area is “ill-conceived, reckless, and motivated by vested interests, instead of the public interest.”

The rally started from the Quad-i-Azam University administration block and culminated at the construction site of the bypass where the representatives of the associations addressed the gathering and chanted slogans.

Office-bearers of QAU associations highlighted the challenges arising from the construction of the bypass which is dividing the Campus into two territories. They said CDA and the contractor unilaterally and dubiously started construction work by breaking the boundary wall, cutting trees and digging deep inside the university area without intimation or sharing of alignment details let alone getting permission from the University.

They said that the proposed alignment consumes hundreds of kenals of precious university land making it much more unusable for academic/research purposes, bisects the campus into two non-contagious parts linked only through a narrow and remote public access Shahdara road. The entire front of the university land on Murree-road will be cut from the main campus leaving thousands of kenals of most valuable university land at the mercy of the powerful encroachers. They stressed that “instead of the public interest, only the vested interests of powerful encroachers and land mafias active in the area are served by pushing through the project in present shape.”

The speakers identified that previous option of elevated highway over the Murree Road, for which EIA had been approved in April this year, is the best option for the purpose. Ironically, the current project also includes about 1.5 km elevated part over the Murree-Road and addition of another 2 km elevated part will solve the problem completely avoiding the destruction of the University.

They offered that a bypass through the peripheral part of university, near Green Line Metro Station could be another option which at least will not bisect the campus nor hamper the academic/research activity on the campus.

President Academic Staff Association Dr Aamir Ali also briefed the audience about an environmental petition hearing held at Environmental Tribunal Monday morning. He lamented the fact that quite like the public hearing conducted on Nov 18 by PEPA, the tribunal hearing was also pressurised by the CDA team.