The Mall is losing its charmArchive
MURREE: Visited by millions of tourists from across the country, the historical The Mall now looks like any other congested bazaar in the big cities of Pakistan due to mismanagement and carelessness of the administration.
Heavy illegal construction on both sides of the bazaar, the installation of food cabins, beggars, encroachments and poor sanitation conditions have compromised the charm and beauty of the bazaar.
Construction was allowed on one side of The Mall, on the left side from the GPO to Marhaba Chowk and the right side was reserved by law for a green belt.
Large multi-storey buildings have now been constructed on the right side in connivance with the Town Municipal Administration.
Kiosks have been installed on both sides of The Mall which is taking away from the beauty of the bazaar and the kiosks also throw waste on the road.
A large number of beggars come to the hill station in the summers as well, which is peak season for tourists.
The Rawalpindi district government had banned billboards on The Mall three years ago, but heavy boards have been installed on the roofs of high-rise buildings which have also been constructed illegally, posing a threat to tourist and citizen’s health and lives.
The only vehicles allowed on The Mall were fire brigades, ambulances and the cars of presidents, prime ministers, chief justices of Pakistan and governors and all other vehicles were banned on the mall, but the ban is not implemented.
Recently, a company owned by a PML-N supporter was awarded the contract for the beautification of The Mall which has not made any significant changes in the seven months since.
A large amount of construction material has been dumped on The Mall though, making it difficult for pedestrians.
When contacted, assistant commissioner and Murree Administrator Arifullah said the contract for the beautification of Murree was awarded by the Urban Unit Department of Punjab government and the Murree Town Administration.
He said the Murree Anjuman Tajiran, a representative body of traders in Murree, had many issues regarding the beatification of The Mall such as the flow of water and the height of the road, which is why the project was delayed.
He said the issues have been settled now after long discussions and that the company has assured the work will be completed just after Eid.
He said the illegal construction on The Mall was done before his tenure and that the Punjab government is considering some policies regarding encroachments and illegal construction.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2017