RDA IS MAKING A NEW MASTER PLAN FOR RAWALPINDI

RDA IS MAKING A NEW MASTER PLAN FOR RAWALPINDI Pearl Property Services RDA IS MAKING A NEW MASTER PLAN FOR RAWALPINDI RDA IS MAKING A NEW MASTER PLAN FOR RAWALPINDI

22-7-2019

RAWALPINDI: After failing to implement the city’s last two master plans, the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) will now start working on a new master plan for Rawalpindi’s next 30 years next month.

A senior RDA official told Dawn the provincial government has approved the terms of reference for a master plan for Rawalpindi for the next 30 years, and the process of hiring a consultant in this regard will likely be approved at the governing body’s next meeting on July 25.

After work began on revising Islamabad’s master plan, he said, the government asked the RDA to begin working on a master plan as most Rawalpindi areas are connected to the capital and the Capital Development Authority faces problems with planning in the absence of a master plan for Rawalpindi.

The official said the residential, commercial and industrial areas need to be streamlines, as do the green areas.

“The RDA is planning to use satellite imagery of Rawalpindi to divide the city into different sectors,” he said.

Two previous master plans designed for the city could not be implemented

Rawalpindi’s first master plan was outlined in 1968, when it was the interim capital, because the city had expanded haphazardly. It was never implemented, and nearly 30 years later another master plan was attempted for the 1996 to 2016 period, which was prepared under a board of officials, he said.

That plan had serious drawbacks, and according to its evaluation it would be unfair to call it a master plan. This plan was not implemented either, while the expansion of the city continued and created “numerous problems, such as the formation of slums, while uncontrolled and illegal housing schemes have also added another dimension to the issue.”

There are a number of planning agencies as far as the city’s growth and building control are concerned, the official said. They include the RDA, cantonment boards, the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation, the district administration and the housing and planning departments.

“These agencies have their own by-laws, work independently and without any centralised coordination or even direction,” he said.

He said that as such, it was understandable that a master plan could not be devised and that none of the previous ones were implemented.

“The recent move by the urban unit to develop uniform by-laws is commendable. This needs to extend as per the character of the city, in the context of structure plans, urban design and a renewal programme for new development,” he said.

In the absence of a master plan, the official added, civic bodies have failed to work on traffic engineering or leave right-of-ways, because of which the city’s main roads are shrinking.

In the absence of population data, the requirement for water, housing, commercial areas and other facilities has not been met, he added.

When contacted, RDA Chairman Arif Abbasi confirmed that the Punjab government gave a go-ahead to make a new master plan for Rawalpindi, and asked the RDA to hire a consultant as soon as possible so the consultant can present a report within six months.

He said the process will begin next month, as formal approval will be given by the RDA’s governing body on July 25.

The master plan will aim to solve traffic problems in the city and manage increasing urbanisation, he said. With the increase in the population, the requirement for water, sewerage, electricity, gas, telephone connections, commercial and residential areas, industry, roads, streets, streetlights, parks, greenbelts, hospitals and educational institutions needs to be managed, he said.

Mr Abbasi said the plan will be made for the next 30 years.

“We will also make short-term plans for five-year development, and [we will] make one policy for all the civic bodies in the city and cantonment areas.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2019