By Asif Hussain
Gilgit Development Authority (GDA) is the governing body to regulate all the development tasks in Gilgit city. Haphazard development is controlled by formulating rules and regulations and by preparing future Master Plans. Unluckily the GDA is devoid of professionals whose tasks are to prepare master plans, formulate rules and regulations and look after the development accordingly.
Urban Planners are also called “Doctor of Cities”. All Development Authorities are look after and run by Urban Planners. I was really saddened when I entered the gate of Gilgit (Bab-e-Gilgit) after one year. The Gate of Gilgit which is door for Tourist across the globe was like it was present 5 years back in a pathetic condition. It was heartrending to see the ‘right of way’ of Shahrah-e-Quaid, the uniformity of medians of roads and the erected grills along the medians were wretched. Even after knowing the prediction influx of tourists, the main refreshment spots are devoid of dustbins, sitting areas and public toilets. Due to lack of hotels, people converted their rented houses into restaurants and hotels. People are constructing buildings without any prior approval from the competent authorities. There is no concept of setbacks and parking provisions for commercial buildings. On-street parking is common, as a result traffic congestion can be seen on main roads which blocks the whole traffic.
Despite historic addition to the GB Funds, the city development sector continues to be in dismal state and is facing major challenges of Sustainability. Use of inefficient material, poor line distribution of Services and nepotism are the main reason behind abrupt and unplanned development. Culture of nepotism is very common; the contractors invest only few pennies on work and remaining into their pockets. As a result, the level of work is very deplorable.
In short, the region known as “pearl of Pakistan” can only be retained by using skills of expert professionals. Proper inductions are sheerly needed to give chance for the experienced and diligent professionals (Urban Planners) who are working in other cities of Pakistan in well reputable organizations like Bahria Pvt ltd, Hashoo Group, Graana and many more.