The horticulture work carried out alongside the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro project at the cost of Rs448 million has proved to be mere eye wash. With such exuberant expense for horticulture work the expectations were high, however, what greets passengers are dried up plants.
A few of the obvious flaws in the landscaping work apart from dead trees includes planting of deodar trees on the median, the trees are not suitable for medians because as grow to be very tall. Moreover the entire plantation consists of green plants that include Phoenix palms, Murraya, and some ficus species. It has to be noted that the Capital Development Authority had suggested adding flowering trees, shrubs, perennials, and variegated plants to the scheme.
Fingers are being raised at the consultancy work done by Mustafa Kamal for the said project. Kamal – a brother of Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal— is the owner of Horti Group, which was appointed as the horticulture consultant by Nespak. The appointment of Horti was questioned by many at the time as the appointment was a blatant case of conflict-of-interest.
Kamal has previously served as the chairman of the Punjab chief minister’s task force on parks and horticulture in 2009. He left the position after an inquiry was ordered against him in January 2009 for allegedly “using his office for advancement of his own business”.
The naked favoritism to hire Kamal’s firm for consultancy has resulted in the sub-standard horticulture work on the metro project and Rupees 448 million from the tax payer’s money seems to have gone down the drain.