S. Tariq As one approaches Islamabad from Rawalpindi one can feel a stark change taking place in the overall environment. Gone is the chaotic traffic, the potholed roads, heaps of stinking trash and the choking fumes from rickshaws. Motorists, who consider seatbelts to be irritating impediments, quickly buckle themselves in and drivers ignore ringing mobile phones lest they use them and get penalised by the smart and watchful traffic police. The landscape too, morphs into rising and falling waves of lush green interspersed with banks of flowers, backed up by the scenic beauty of the pine-covered Margalla Hills. There is, however, one corner of Islamabad that the wizards at CDA and the elected representatives appear to have forsaken and left to the mercy of time and elements. This is the Simly Dam Road and its many link roads that wind down from the hills acting, as lifelines to the population that inhabits them. While the dam itself is critical to the survival of Islamabad, being a major source of water for the capitals residents, its mountain ringed lake has all it takes to be turned into one of the most attractive and revenue paying recreational venue. Approximately five kilometres from Bara Kahu along Simly Dam Road lies 'Kalma Chowk, distinguishable by a tire shop, a small wayside eating place and a store. From here, a road takes off left into the hills towards Mera Begowal and beyond. This road serves many residential communities and villages that rely on the access to the main Simly Dam Road for their emergent and daily needs. Travelling on this route, however, is a veritable nightmare for the people and vehicles, because the road as we know it has ceased to exist due to the rains and hill torrents that run across it. What little surface remains, is pitted with potholes that have the potential to effectively finish any sick or injured that may have to be transported to Bara Kahu or Islamabad for aid. And for those sound of health, the journey is more than likely to end in sore sides and bruised bodies. The elected representative from the area, nor his rival from the ruling party, have perhaps ever taken the trouble to visit this particular area and the bigwigs from the CDA are perhaps too used to their cushioned chairs and comfortable land cruisers to experience the torment that people go through, when travelling here. The news that a National Zoological and Botanical Garden funded by the World Wild Life Fund was being set up in the wide expanse of the forested hills opposite Kalma Chowk, kindled a ray of hope that perhaps the road from this chowk to Mera Begowal would be re-laid. The area was fenced off and boards were put up, but as it is with projects in the 'land of the pure, the fence rotted or was torn down by vandals, the boards lost their paint and the people continued waiting - waiting in vain for good things to happen. The sui gas pipeline passes along Simly Dam Road, but there is no gas for the residents, who live on the offshoots unless one is a member of the ruling party or someone with nuisance value. Mercifully, some major places on the road namely Bara Kahu, Shahpur and Phulgran have been provided with gas, but communities living beyond Phulgran towards the dam within a five kilometre range of the road have been told that they have no chance of getting a connection during their lifetime - so much for good governance. The construction of a new bridge across Korang Nullah was mercifully started almost two years ago. This nullah, which is the prime source of water for Rawal Dam, becomes dangerously impassable when it rains upstream. Commuters have, however, watched the structure take shape at a snails pace and then stop, as if waiting for divine help. The bridge is now completed, but the approaches and the road across it needs to be constructed. When will this great event take place is anybodys guess. All what the frustrated people from across the Korang and their visitors will continue to do, is to wait and curse. If an influential person or a high CDA official were to take a trip to the 'road that turns left from Kalma Chowk. maybe returning battered and bruised and cursing their moment of weakness, they will order that mercy be shown and the said road be re-laid in testimony of their everlasting magnanimity. n The writer is a freelance columnist.