Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khatak has promised in 2014 said that the city would get Food Street in Peshawar’s Namak Mandi bazaar before Eidul Fitr and it would be a gift to the residents of the city.
Chief Minister Pervaiz Khatak visited the historical bazaar of Namak Mandi and Gor Khatri in Peshawar in July 2014, approving arrangements to establish food streets in both the places.
Khatak, while visiting the site, told media that the food streets would be a gift to the city’s residents and would also bring businessperson to invest in the city.
Peshawar is famous for its traditional cuisine particularly Mutton Tikka, Chapli Kabab and Kabuli Pulao. Namak Mandi is home to hundreds of Tikka Karhai restaurants, including the famous Charsi Tikka.
The government intended to establish food street and also banned traffic in the area s that visitors could enjoy the ambience and food without any disturbances.
Back in May 2016, a meeting of senior officials was held that included Deputy Commissioner Peshawar Raiz Mehsood, city mayor Mohammad Asim and representative of the Urban Policy Unit, Wasif Shinwari.
After the approval of site, the mayor has asked the Urban Policy Unit to prepare PC-1 for establishment of Food Street in Namak Mandi. In a meeting held in May, Asim ordered the map and design should be submitted within seven days.
However, despite chief minister’s promise to establish food street before Eidul Fitr in 2014, little progress could be seen on the matter. A similar promise was made for establishing food street in Hayatabad town.
Director Estate and Management at that time said the food street would be operational by December, 2016 but failed to deliver on his commitment.
Speaking to Turthtracker, Pakistan Muslim League-N’s provincial lawmaker Amna Sardar said that it was incompetency on part of the provincial government they could not live up to their promises which reflect on their incompetency.
She said, before promising with the public one could analyze and take all the stakeholders on board before announcing any promise with the public. “PTI’s leaders always make such hollow promises just to get attention of the public and media.”
She further mentioned that there are different channels that can help people inquire about government’s failed plans. ‘There are lots of forums like Right to Information law to get information about any issue from the public department,’ Sardar said, adding, the public needs to first check if the party has fulfilled all the promises they made before voting for them.
A resident of Peshawar Mehran Ahmad said that he was delighted to know about food street coming to Peshawar. He says that people of Peshawar has suffered a lot due to the shaky security situation and deserved to have places for recreation. “Four years have passed by and people of Peshawar are still waiting for the government to deliver on their forgotten promise.”
He said he voted for PTI and still appreciates the party for some developmental work in the city but it is disappointing to see chief minister’s promise going unfulfilled.
However, District Nazim Asim said work was underway on the project and will be operational within four months. He said designs have been prepared and total of Rs. 60 million were set aside for the project.
“We are actually refurnishing the old buildings in Namak Mandi for the foodies to enjoy the food in the traditional food street,” he said, adding, tenders have been floated for the contractors to work on the project.
When asked if it’s the project of provincial government, he said its project of district government while provincial government is setting up food street in Hayatabad town.
There are also reservations over establishing food street in Namak Mandi. One of the traders who wished no to be named, said he along with other restaurant owners are not pleased with government’s decision to ban the entry of vehicles into the Namak Mandi for establishing food street.
“No one will approach their shops if the vehicles were banned to enter the Namak Mandi,” the trader said.
When asked about reservations, the mayor said all the stakeholders will be taken on board, but he did not clarify whether work was underway.
Looking into the comments of officials, residents and independent observers, Truthtracker reached to the conclusion that the promise made by chief minister of establishing Food Street in Namak Mandi before 2014’s Eidul Fitr has been broken.
However, as per the information received from the district nazim the project will be completed within four months.