National Highways and Motorways Police (NH&MP) has blocked the illegal entry, which certain housing schemes had jointly opened on the loop of Islamabad and Peshawar Motorway (M-1) in a bid to give a boost to the valuation of their plots with the connivance of National Highway Authority (NHA).
Reliable sources said three big housing schemes adjacent to Islamabad Motorway had started to construct joint entry gates to access the motorway through proposed link road of new Benazir Bhutto International Airport in order to increase the prices of plots overnight.
Some efficient officers of the NH&MP had intimated the NHA’s authorities about the illegal construction, but the authority kept mum over it.
Meanwhile, the management of the housing schemes opened their entry/exit gates to link their projects with the motorway soon after its completion, which was very surprising for everyone.
According to documents available with Express Investigation Cell, the NH&MP expressed their great concern over the controversial entry points, which the NHA had accorded approval to without consulting them.
Taking strong exception to the development, Motorways Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja, immediately blocked the illegal access by exercising his powers. He also intimated the NH&MP Inspector General Islamabad about the event vide a letter No NHMP-5(1)DIG(M)14/28 on January 8, a copy of which was also forwarded to the NHA chairman.
However, closure of the illegal entry has irked the owners of the housing schemes, who have started efforts to reopen entry on the plea that it is very unjustified, sources said.
A NH&MP official, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that it was not the first attempt of its kind as a similar illegal gate had also been opened last year on Motorways near Kallar Kahar on Islamabad-Lahore section (M-2).
The NH&MP SSP asked NHA general manager to close the illegal gate vide his letter No. SSP/M-2(N)2(21)13-3048 on Nov 11, 2103.
However, despite the letter, the NHA did not take any action, giving credence to speculations that they also were hand in glove with the real estate developers, source observed.
Such an impression cannot also be ruled out as any kind of construction regarding access to motorways is impossible without the permission of the NHA, which is responsible for the administration and maintenance of motorways; besides keeping check on any irregularities particularly illegal construction adjacent to the motorways, sources said.
When contacted, Motorways DIG Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja confirmed that illegal entry to housing schemes at Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway was closed in the public and government interest soon after the development came to his knowledge.
However, neither the NHA chairman nor its member operation, who also has the charge of GM operation, could be contacted for comments despite being repeatedly called.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2014.