Every citizen and resident of Faisalabad would feel happy, overjoyed and thrilled seeing his city forwarding towards development but on the other hand many people having healthy mind and sound judgement disagree with this development, which is only related to construction.
Most of the public especially belonging to ruling class is not sure “what development” really means with respect to other countries. The development of a city or town does not depend on the construction only, it caters many more things, like quality of life: access to education and health care, employment opportunities, availability of clean air and safe drinking water, the threat of crime, and so on.
In Faisalabad like other cities of the country in the absence of “Local Bodies Representatives” development work is in the hands of District Coordination Officer (DCO) who is incharge of all the work ,planner and as well as contractor.
Noor ul Amin Mengal has taken for granted that the development is only construction of roads , bridges , putting expensive bricks on the side ways of the roads and on foot paths.
Since his presence in the city , almost ‘brick and mortar’ work is in progress. Roads are being widened , bridges are being renovated, simple bricks are being replaced by the expensive tiles and no body is there to check the quality of the work and material used. Many consider that this type of development work bring more commission to the contractors and the person who is dispersing budget for construction.
In Faisalabad , any new comer fill find some good things like wide roads and paved sideways, but in reality the public at large consider it a fruitless effort in the disguise of development.
Former DCO, Nasim Sadiq, did a lot of work which was real development in the city. He constructed, public toilets, bus stops, paved the canals within the city and narrowed them to avoid space and seepage of water, planted a number of trees in the dividers between the roads, removed encroachments, dismantled the shops and re constructed them leaving enough space to park the vehicles and improve the flow of traffic on Railway Road and many small projects like these. He painted the government schools and institutions with a uniform colour which gave a look of beauty. He properly designed the work and supervised it. In a lesser amount he did more than what is being done today.
The present DCO , had neglected to maintain the work of his predecessor and started with his own plan. He mainly focused on the widening of the roads and replacing bricks with modern tiles. He removed the previously erected poles and placed the new ones.
The real municipal services was neither provided by him nor by the Town Administrators. The streets are without lights and darkness covers the vision at night. No proper system has been adopted to take away the garbage from the residences of the public. No body has concentrated to provide clean drinking water. Sewerage system has reached to the last limit of chocking in the city. The areas except few have been totally neglected and people are forced to walk through dirty and wasted water. The main roads have been decorated but the link roads are totally torn. The green belts and grounds are ignored. Municipal dispensaries are almost closed.
The other aspect is that there is no system of check and balance in the city. Foot paths in all the areas of the city are occupied by the vendors. Encroachments have extended and taken one fourth of the roads. Play grounds are looking deserted look. Once made with a cost of million rupees Hockey Stadium is never visited by the DCO. This place is not open for players. Traffic is haphazard and lacks enforcement of law to control it. Wardens are busy in money making. Statements are issued in newspapers by high police officials to improve the traffic system but practically nothing is being done.
A campaign against hotels and restaurants was started to check the quality of the food which in now total dumped. Big shots are considered above the law while poor is suffering.
MNA’s and MPA’s allow their near and dear ones to occupy streets, roads, foot paths and what ever place they like. If asked they tell boldly that they have the backing of parliamentarians and administration.
In the recent past DCO renovated a 100 years old building spending millions on it and claiming it Faisalabad Heritage and named it as Lyallpur House but it is not opened for public. He has made it his camp office.
This is not development, we should believe in sustainable development , which needs a uniform policy and should be followed by step by step.
One more thing to add is that long term interests of our children are at high risk and unaccounted, because they are unable to vote for themselves. Thus to ensure that our coming generations inherit the necessary conditions to provide for their own welfare, our present today values must be educated enough to reflect their interests.
(Will be improved)