Wednesday October 20, 2021

Over-population, scarcity of resources making life tough for Pindiites

September 27, 2021

Rawalpindi:With the passage of time, the quality of life for those settled in Rawalpindi has dwindled due to over-population and scarcity of resources. Almost all basic needs like electricity, gas, pure water, transport, roads, sewerage system, playgrounds, forests, educational institutions, hygienic food, health facilities, and healthy atmosphere are continuously going down in the garrison city.

Living a respectable life has become an arduous task in Rawalpindi than in other cities of the country because of the high ratio of migration particularly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern Areas, therefore, residents not only facing bad life infrastructure but high inflation ratio as well, people belong to all walks of life told ‘The News’ here on Sunday.

Over 60 per cent people are settled in rented houses and the rent of a two-room home was at least Rs15,000 to Rs20,000. Particularly, people of KP and other Northern Areas are continuously migrating from their native towns to settle down here in the garrison city. In winter, owners increase the home’s rent.

According to Population Statistics in 2018, the population in the urban areas in Rawalpindi was 2,291,532 in world 230th number in Asia 120th and in Pakistan 5th number while the population in the city area was 1743101in world 137th number in Asia 84th number and in Pakistan 4th number.

According to Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mehmood, the water level was going down deeper and deeper due to over population in city areas. The water level has gone to over 600 feet down, he warned. If we do not adopt precautionary measures, we would face the music in the coming days, he warned.

The electricity consumers are continuously facing long hours of power outages and low voltages because of bad infrastructure and over population. The consumers need 220MW power voltages to run safe electrical home appliances but Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESC) providing only 100 to 150MW voltage in most of the areas. More than 40 per cent of residents are still without electricity connections here in Rawalpindi which was due to more and more migration to garrison city.

Even the residents of city and cantonment board localities are facing low to zero gas pressure in the summer and winter seasons while over 50 per cent of people are still without natural gas connections for years. All was due to over population here in the garrison city.

Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) General Manager Mukhtar Shah said that the population was increasing day-to-day here in Rawalpindi thereof we failed to provide the natural gas. We needed more and more money to handle this situation, how we could control this situation with the same infrastructure, he said.

“If the population of Rawalpindi continues to grow with the same rate, it is likely to double in next 10 to 15 years whereas land area will remain the same rather will be reduced due to residential plans, experts warned.

The law and order situation has also worsened due to street crimes, theft cases, rape cases, robbery cases and fraud cases here in the garrison city.

Dr. Uzma Irfan said that resources were continuously reducing due to overcrowding in Rawalpindi particularly the people of KP preferring to settle down here. They are doing all kinds of businesses here to spend day and night, she claimed.

Former Assistant Registrar, Lahore High Court, (LHC), Rawalpindi, Khawaja Muhammad Basharat said that infrastructure is the same but the population is increasing day-to-day here in the city. The permanent residents are facing a hard life here in Rawalpindi due to excessive migration from other cities. Government should provide a strong infrastructure. If the government will not think about it, it will create a dangerous situation not only in Rawalpindi but in the federal capital as well, he warned.

Muhammad Sadiq, a local said that major factors responsible for high population growth in Pakistan are high fertility, low contraceptive prevalence rate, high unmet need of family planning, declining mortality, the custom of early marriages, son preference, poverty, illiteracy especially of women and lack of women empowerment, religious constraints, beliefs, customs, traditions and lack of recreational activities. But, the situation was different here in Rawalpindi. “We the people of Rawalpindi are facing excessive migration from KP and other Northern Areas therefore we are facing a hard life,” he said.

Several other citizens included Mohsan Khan, Abdul Rehman, Neelum Hussain, Raja Tanvir, Sardar Nadeem, Babar Alvi, Nadia Naveed, Asif Ahmed, and others have appealed the government to form proper planning for Rawalpindi city.