Islamabad: Rawalpindi, home to the headquarters of Pakistan`s armed forces, is on a new mission - to turn itself into a city of greenery and cleanliness.
Located in Punjab province, 275 km to the northwest of Lahore, Rawalpindi`s total area is approximately 154 sq km. The city administration is now busy in a campaign for the beautification of the city. Garbage heaps are being removed and drains are being cleaned, the Dawn reported.
The first priority is to remove billboards from public and private buildings amid concerns that they are becoming a hazard.
A survey by the local administration found 60 percent of the billboards in the city were illegal, with a majority of them exceeding the standard "safe size". More than half the billboards had been installed without permission and many were declared "dangerous".
Under the beautification plan, hundreds of billboards installed either on roadsides or on rooftops of private and public buildings will be removed.
As a past practice, the contract for installing billboards was awarded to only one contactor for the whole city. And there was no bar on the number of billboards the contractor was allowed to install. Taking advantage, a contractor installed as many billboards as he could in the city, caring little for the hazards that they cause.
A senior official said the new policy would lead to a dip in revenue.
"Our purpose is to generate revenue by auctioning sites for billboards but, on the other hand, we have to keep the city clean," he said.
But residents said the administration was silent on the practice of hanging banners on electricity poles and traffic lights.