Islamabad: Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Tariq Mahmood has said that fire and rescue services directorate with a heavy investment of almost Rs1.5 billion would be upgraded.

Talking to ‘The News’, the chairman said, “We feel that the way the federal capital is expanding and high-rise buildings coming up both in the commercial as well as residential sector, it is essential to have an effective fire control and rescue department in the authority to meet any emergency in future.”

The federal capital had suffered two disastrous fire incidents, first one that completely destroyed the Shaheed-e-Millat Secretariat on January 15, 2002 and the latest was the unfortunate Marriott hotel fire following the huge suicide attack on September 20, 2008 in which a dumper full of explosive material was used late last year.

Tariq Mahmood said while strengthening this new fire and rescue directorate in the authority special emphasis will be paid to create an effective and unified ‘command and control’ system to ensure smooth coordination between the rescue teams and the concerned departments during any event of emergency.

He said that the recent incident of fire in Gakhar Plaza in Rawalpindi has once again rang the alarm bells and forced the people in the CDA to review and come up with effective ‘command and control system’ aimed at improving coordination between all the concerned departments to deal with any such emergency situation, if ever happened, in the federal capital.

Earlier, the chairman directed construction of at least two new pedestrian bridges on the 10-lane ‘Islamabad Expressway’ between Faizabad inter-change and Khana Pul on urgent basis.

There is thickly populated localities on both sides of the ‘Islamabad Expressway’, in Islamabad as well as in Rawalpindi, and people, especially women and children are required to cross this expanded ‘Expressway’ frequently most part of the day, he said.

In fact the CDA has to construct at least six new pedestrian bridges on the ‘Islamabad Expressway’ and the extended part of the ‘Islamabad Highway’ linking federal capital to the Grant Trunk (GT) Road near Rawat. However, the CDA chief has ordered urgent construction of these two new bridges being planned between the ‘Faizabad inter-change’ and the ‘Khana Pul’ on the ‘Islamabad Expressway’