I remember that the former Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was concerned about the state of traffic congestion and inadequate parking. Well, this report from the Daily Times should be enough to provide the incoming government, most likely to be a PML-N coalition, to put this in the urgent priority list for improving the glorious Lahore… (RR)
By Muzaffar Ali
LAHORE: Despite tall claims, the city government and the Punjab government have failed to construct a single parking lot in the city to reduce the growing traffic problems, said All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) General Secretary Abdur Razzaq on Wednesday.
The officials in the city government blamed the Punjab government for not releasing funds for the purpose. After this, both governments have been asking traders to build parking lots. The APAT asked the Punjab government in 2007 to lease out 14 places for 100 years and said the organisation itself would build parking lots. The APAT general secretary said the Punjab government, however, failed to provide places in this regard.
Razzaq said the 14 places included Nila Gumbad, Delhi Muslim Hotel Anarkali, Outside Delhi Gate, Outside Akbari Gate, Outside Sheranwala Gate, Outside Masti Gate and Outside Kashmiri Gate. “A proposal in this regard was sent to the CM Secretariat in 2007 which responded affirmatively. The secretariat had assured through a letter that the CM would set up a committee to review the proposals,” he said.
The APAT said the proposal of building a parking lot in Nila Gumbad could not be implemented because the King Edward Medical University objected that the parking plaza would mar the beauty of the school. “After this, no step was taken by the Punjab government to redress the problem,” he added.
City govt says no funds were available for parking plazas: A senior official of the city government, seeking anonymity, told Daily Times that the city government always looked towards the Punjab government for materialising projects due to the lack of funds. “Earlier, in April 24, 2006, the city government asked the provincial government for funds for the construction of multi-storey plazas at Nila Gumbad and The Mall. These projects, however, could not be initiated. The city government then asked the traders to construct parking plazas on their own because it could generate a good deal of money,” he said.
The official said on February 2, 2007, the district nazim directed the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency officials to prepare a proposal for the construction of a plaza in Nila Gumbad, but the project could not be implemented. He said there were more such proposal but all were shelved because of the unavailability of funds. “Annually, 100,000 vehicles are adding to the existing 1.7 million vehicles. The city will be a mess by 2010 if parking plazas are not constructed,” he added.
The Gulberg Town Planner also sent a proposal to then CM for a parking plaza near the Liberty. “Every shop owner has averagely four cars and their employees have 20 to 25 motorcycles. They all park their vehicles in the parking plaza and then customers face difficulty to park their vehicles,” said Muhammad Muzammil.
District Officer Public Facilities Arshad Zahid told Daily Times the city government did not own any parking plaza. “The government has set up 56 parking stands along major roads,” he said and added that the responsibility of building parking plazas lay with the town administration. He said he had given a proposal to District Coordination Officer Muhammad Ijaz to build a parking plaza on The Mall. “Probably the only way out of this problem is for private businesses to come forward and build such plazas.”