Monday September 27, 2021

Beginning of a new Islamabad, modern and sustainable

Hold your breath and hold your ‘vows’ back for a while. Incredible and unbelievable it ought to have been in normal days and more so at this time of disaster.

When every metropolis in the country is posting daunting deficits and development has become a distant dream, Islamabad takes a leap into the realm of the possible.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has earned Rs17.4 billion in just three days through the auction of 12 commercial plots.

It shows that the civic body still has trust of the investors and the level of trust has never been as high as now. It is unprecedented.

Normally, the CDA earns this much amount in two years, which it did in three days now. Second, the civic body got the highest ever bid of Rs1.5 million per square yard. It has never happened even before 2018 when the country was having good business days.

The largest plot sold in this auction measures 7,000 square yards or 1.5 acres of land.

This could not be possible but for the professional leadership of CDA Chairman Amer Ahmed Ali (AAA), who has a knack for city management and development.

When he announced development-based budget this year, people laughed it off as Pakistanis have been sort of convinced that the age of development is over.

But then we saw work being kicked off at interchanges and other construction sites. The money earned through this auction will also be spent on development of the city.

Construction of PWD interchange has started. Logically, the housing societies that flank Islamabad Expressway are supposed to build these interchanges as they are having thriving business at the cost of flora and fauna of this area. They also have fleeced residents of Islamabad exploiting their dream of affordable lodging in the city.

But the CDA has to bear their burden as it cannot turn its back on public problems. It is hoped that with the construction of PWD Interchange, the civic body will also add loops to nearby Naval Anchorage Interchange as at its present situation, the interchange stands in violation of CDA rules and regulations. What is the purpose of an interchange when public of the area is not facilitated to use it.

AAA told me that a low priced housing project in Sector I-9 is also on cards and it may cost just a fraction of the money collected from the auction. Asked if it is a long-term project, he said things will no more be prolonged.

There is no reason to doubt him as he has brought to reality Capital Enclave when nobody could have thought of it.

But more appropriate question is if the federal capital will wear a look of a modern city after this auction or not? I believe yes. These plots are separated from one another giving liberty of design. All these 12 plots face picturesque Margallas. And sky is the limit to build now in Islamabad. It is advisable that the new investors will build beauties and not beasts but in either case their constructions will be high-rises. It is beginning of a new Islamabad, for sure.