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September 14, 2019

Worn out panaflexes need quick replacements


September 14, 2019

Islamabad: The impressive all glass stations, well-maintained buses, shiny floors and most importantly ‘clean walls’ of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus gives everyone a hope that it is possible to maintain public projects in our country.

There are not many such examples around the capital city where public spaces were managed well and not damaged or vandalised by the people for whom the facility was created. For example, the bus stops developed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) a few years ago are now in poor shape only because of vandalism and lack of maintenance.

Using public toilets and not bothering to flush, peeling letters off road signs, park slides with gaping holes dug up on purpose, throwing litter around carelessly and smearing signage with spray paint are just some other examples in this light. All this does seem surprising considering that the metropolis boasts a literacy rate of 72 per cent yet signs of a lack of civic sense remain much in evidence.

Almost all the main roads require daily cleaning up by a dedicated team of CDA sweepers – litter that is conveniently tossed out of moving cars while sit-outs created recently are strewn with trash each morning, so much for this city of the literate.

While scores of dustbins put up at all major markets continue to beckon the public, litter is thrown everywhere else but the bins. The result is that the public places get dirtier with time which does not bode well for a town whose beauty has been its biggest asset.

Some other common forms of vandalism are spoiling a neat whitewashed wall with graffiti, stealing bulbs off lampposts or damaging them by hurling stones, bringing park fences down to make way for short cuts and destroying public benches. Road signage has been distorted with spray paint making shapes of female body parts or writing vulgar comments on the signs.

It is also a pity to see adults using slides and swings at children’s play areas that have been creditably provided by the CDA. Going to and fro wildly on the swings are people who do not stop to think that these facilities are meant for kids. No wonder the swings and slides come down fairly quickly.

At the time when Metro Bus Project was newly inaugurated and videos of people rushing into the busses pushing each other became viral, it was expected that the administration would not be able to maintain the bus service and it will turn into a typical public service facility with broken machines, beggars all around and spitting and graffiti on the walls.

Fortunately, or may be because of involving private partners for maintenance, the Metro Bus project maintained an overall international standard. The only eye sore these days are worn out panaflexes displayed at the bus stations. The panaflexes depicting famous sites of Pakistan were used for adding beauty to the stations but now it is the opposite as these worn out pictures are the first thing that gets noticed when we look at the otherwise well maintained stations.

The residents hope that this is not the first sign of deterioration of this public facility and the authorities either replace or remove these pictures to preserve the sleek looks of these stations.

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