Category Archives: Infrastructure

Photo of the Day: Victoria School in Danger

Victoria2

This is a very serious issue , as this new cemented building might collapse on the Victoria Girls High School , it is tilting towards the school , however over the last few rains in this month the situation has worsen.
(Photo and words Tahir Yazdani Malik)

 

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Photo of the Day: Risala Gali Old Anarkali

Risala PRisala2

Photos via Maria Waseem @maaria_waseem

Urban rehabilitation: The rebirth of Lahore’s Gali Surjan Singh

An exciting report has been published on The Express Tribune about the renovation of Surjan Singh Street by the Punjab Govt with the help of Aga Khan Trust for Culture and World bank. Walled street is a gift of our ancestors with rich heritage to be proud of. We hope more such projects start and preserve this invaluable heritage.

Plaque of the renovated lane fixed next to an old lamp. A view of the street from the Delhi Gate. Residents of Surjan Singh Gali sip tea in their lane. PHOTO: EXPRESS TRIBUNE/HASSAN NAQVI

Plaque of the renovated lane fixed next to an old lamp. A view of the street from the Delhi Gate. Residents of Surjan Singh Gali sip tea in their lane. PHOTO: EXPRESS TRIBUNE/HASSAN NAQVI

Lahore: Located inside the Walled City’s Delhi Gate, Gali Surjan Singh is home to 13 residences. This week, conservation work on these homes and in the area received an ‘honourable mention’ from the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation for “efforts of private individuals and organisations that have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value”.
The Gali Surjan Singh project includes a restoration of heritage architecture, replacement of infrastructure and services, including underground telecommunications, electricity, gas, water and sewerage. A total of 23 houses have been restored as part of the project, 13 of which were fully restored, and encroachments removed. Approximately Rs20 million was spent in the restoration of these 13 homes.
Gali Surjan Singh is named after Hakim Surjan Singh and it is believed that it dates back to the period of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in 1849. In 2007, the Punjab government received financial support from the World Bank and technical and financial assistance from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in order to begin a project of urban rehabilitation here that took into consideration the area’s historic nature and the lives of current residents. Continue reading

A Green Thought

by Amna Kausar

Amna Kausar is a candidate for the degree of BSc (Hons) majoring in Environmental Science and currently studying in her final semester. She works as a programme officer in a Lahore-based NGO.

My colleague and I were sitting together one day, obviously working, and the topic under discussion was my ‘so-called’ and ‘irrelevant’ passion for achieving ‘Environmental Sustainability’, not just in my own country, but around the globe i.e. a World of Intelligent Fools. It is sad when people like me, who are definitely few in number, come to terms with the fact that not many people possess the competence to envision our vision. They seem staggered and actually horrified at it. And what exactly is our vision? A Greener and Resourceful Planet! Ah, Thank-you, but No Thank-you!

Heading back to what this colleague was trying to say, in his highly ill-informed and juvenile manner, was that why the ignorant and unenlightened individuals of Pakistan (including himself) would not comprehend how important it was to cut off those trees situated at the Lahore Canal Road so that it could be widened for traffic control. For a minute I thought I could just punch him in his face, not because I was sensitive about this Road Widening Project, but because of the supremely ‘casual’ manner he employed in saying ‘Cut off those trees’. I did not visibly do it, so I stopped clicking my computer mouse, and thought of how to go about this important dialogue.

Only recently, I had got myself in a not-so-very hot debate on Face-book with an acquaintance about an article that I had posted on my profile relating to the notorious ‘Lahore Canal Road Widening Project’. Although, the man had solid points to put forth, I have to say how also extraneous they were.

So I got back to my colleague and asked him whether he knew what trees did for us and the Earth. He said: ‘Duh! They provide Oxygen!’ I had to come back with: ‘Oh! And do you breathe in Helium?’ He looked offended but managed to smile. All I could say to him was that it is humbly requested to him to look for the importance of trees on the internet.

This man and many others like him need to be informed that by chopping off those trees along the canal, they will only rob the city of its lungs! This project is worth Rs. 3.5 billion. Please think twice about Pakistan’s current situation. An amount as huge as this to be spent on a mere 8 percent population of Lahore that owns vehicles is certainly ‘not’ something that we can afford. What about the rest of the 92 percent? Should they move to Planet Mars?

A recent course lecture reminds me of a factual account that we, the intelligent fools of the world, are facing the situation of ‘Environment’ against ‘Development’. Sure, go ahead with Development. Just be a little concerned with its definition and proper implementation. It is amazing to know that the government has a good budget to spend on this Road Widening Project. Will it be a crime to think about the 92 percent I mentioned above and develop an efficient Public Transport System for them? I mean, we are a poor nation for sure and we need to do something about it.

Those trees are Lahore’s cultural possessions. We have not got much left in our pockets that we start stripping our country with its little left beauty. Grave environmental dangers are already forecasted including rise in temperatures and loss of biodiversity. There is utterly no water resource management and we are very close to wars on the issue.

Why are we so blind?

Chief Justice takes suo motu notice of Canal Road widening; orders no trees be cut

From Dawn, 28 November 2009

LAHORE, Nov 27: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Friday took suo motu notice against proposed chopping of trees in the provincial metropolis to widen Canal Road.

Chief Justice Chaudhry directed the authorities concerned to put their plans of cutting the trees on hold and summoned the chief secretary and the environment secretary on Dec 1 at Court House in Islamabad.

The chief justice took notice on applications moved by two NGOs namely the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP) and the Lahore Bachao Tehreek (LBT), seeking a restraining order against proposed cutting of trees to widen Canal Road.

Earlier, Dawn reported in its Nov 26 edition that environmentalists, conservationists and civil society activists had sought help of the CJP to save hundreds of trees likely to be felled during Eid holidays to pave the way for widening of Canal Road. Through an application to the CJP, they had said the Punjab government was planning to widen Canal Road from Thokar Niaz Beg to Dharampura underpass at a hefty cost of Rs3.15 billion, without fulfilling its obligations under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997, and the chief minister had announced that work on the project should be started.
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Say a little a prayer for Lahore

 

By Ahmad Rafay Alam
The only thing as incredulous as the recent announcement by the Government of Punjab — it intention to construct a highway through the heart of Lahore — was the recent statement of the CEO of Fashion Pakistan Week that their glorified display of clothes was a “gesture of defiance towards the Taliban.”
Our fashion industry is as much of an industry as the Holy Roman empire was holy, Roman or an empire. Our designers are talented without doubt; but to suggest that parading scantily clad men and women down a runway behind the bunkers and barricades of a five-star hotel in Karachi is an act of defiance is, well, really stretching the limits to which the “security situation” can make a fool out of us. Continue reading

Lahore now the most polluted city in Pakistan?

Road PollutionSo much for “development”, so much for the overpasses, the underpasses, the Foodstreets, Jashn-e-Baharan, the Lahore Road, Rehabilitation Project, all of the PHA’s many “efforts”, beautification and so on.  So much for it.  Lahore is now the most polluted city in Pakistan.  Surely someone should accept the fact that the medicine is killing the patient.

The newspaper article below is also an indictment of the thoughtless commercialization policies that have fuelled commercial and industrial activity within the city and, often, even in quiet residential areas.  It’s an indictment of how inequitable our cities are becoming; and how anti-public space and anti-people they have become.  Arif Hasan has called Karachi an “unethically planned city.” Given the short-sighted pursuit we give to the notion of a “World Class City”, I think Lahore is fast earning the same moniker.

Industrialisation, mounting pollution threaten Lahore

Thursday, September 24, 2009
By Ali Raza (The News http://tiny.cc/hQxLT)

LAHORE: Rapidly increasing industrialization and commercialisation has turned the provincial metropolis — once known as the City of Gardens — into one of the most polluted cities in the country.

Even residential localities are not safe from increasing trends of commercialization and industrialization because many industrial zones, which were established some years ago outside the city, are now situated right in middle of the City.

Light and heavy industrial units have been established in various city localities i.e. Misri Shah, Baghbanpura, Mughalpura, Daroghewala, Bhagat Pura, Chah Miran, Shadbagh and other localities along the Bund Road and GT Road. These industries include steel foundries, steel re-rolling mills, kilns, steel furnaces, scrap yards, plastic recycling industry, marble grinding, furniture making and several other kinds of cottage industries. All of these industries are spreading different types of pollutions especially air, noise, vibration and heat.
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The effects of Lahore’s urban sprawl

Yesterday, I posted an article about the LDA’s latest schemes in South Lahore.

Today, I’m posting my column as it appeared in The News:

Behind Lahore’s worsening crisis

Since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore’s Liberty Market, nothing seems to make sense anymore. The country and its people appear to be drifting to anarchy and chaos. There is deep political crisis. The presidency has stolen the mandate of the people of Punjab and the Swat peace deal is crumbling at its foundations. A Pakistani Taliban is taking over the northern regions. The economy is in deep slide (getting more IFI financing is not the same as a dynamic economy). Poverty is near 40 percent, and violence, intolerance and extremism are on the rise. Government institutions have failed; others are crumbling fast. The integrity of our armed forces is under question. Even cricket is dead.

We can scream blue murder because it’s broken. We can try and blame one another for breaking it. Or we can set about fixing it. You don’t need to be a genius to do this; or be a natural-born leader of men. You just need to participate. This is our mess. We need to clean it up.
Continue reading

Urban Sprawl update: LDA launches two new housing schemes

by Yasir Habib Khan in The Nation, 23 March

LAHORE – Just few days before the new government is going to assume its charge in Punjab, the Lahore Development Authority has launched two new housing schemes with 2,10,000 plots.
These two schemes, situated at southern part of the city, are learnt to be run on the footstep of Defence Housing Authority. The LDA approved the housing schemes on October 31, 2006 with notification under LDA Act 1975 to meet the residential requirements of the city. The Punjab government has banned sale and purchase of land in the concerned areas.
One housing scheme covering around 25,000 kanal land will be situated at Raiwand road. while second housing scheme will spread on Ferozpur road spreading 2 lack and 25 thousands kanals of land
LDA Director General Muhammad Arif Khan announced the two schemes during a press conference held at LDA Plaza here on Saturday.
According to map of scheme, the housing scheme at Ferozepur road will touch from the North Hadiyara Drain, from the South Suaya Asal road, from the West main railway line. While front of the scheme would be stretched out million of kilometer on Ferozepur road. Raiwand road scheme includes 11 small townswhich include moza Janjate, Pajeyan, Khana Nepal, Dhondey, Rakh Raaye, Raaye, Rakgh Jaddo Dher, Jadu Dheer, Karyal, Raiwand and moza Jiya Bagga.
Both the schemes would involve 23 small towns including moza Sadhar, Pandoki, Jalkey, Chehdow, Rakth Chehdow, Toor Wariach, Tehpanju, Badooki, Khand, Asal Suleman, Aato Asal, Kachah, Kang Sharif, Jiya Bagga, Chak Boota, Dhodhey, Raiwand, Karyal, Jalal Pura, Jadu Dheer, Ladhu Key Acheh, Watney, and moza Kangra.
The housing schemes would focus low-income groups in the city besides preparing large number of three-marla plots for widows, orphans and the destitute. The LDA DG Muhammad Arif Khan said that in scheme No 1 there would be 7500 plots for one kanal plots, 7500 plots for 10 marlas, 8333 plots for 3 marlas.
In Scheme No 2, there would be 15000 plots for one kanal, 15000 plots for 10 marlas, and 16666 plots for 3 marlas.
It is learnt that Mian Amer Mahmood, who is also the chairman of the Lahore Development Authority, directed for selling these plots to the lower class on minimum possible prices, providing construction plans along with estimates to the people free of cost and exempting these plots from getting approved site plan.
The sources said that the district nazim asked for allocating big chunks of land for setting up four colleges, two each for boys and girls in these schemes as well as for reserving more land for public utility sites and establishing commercial areas in view of future requirements. “The nazim also directed to ensure electricity supply lines under ground and a water treatment plant included in the planning of these schemes, the sources concluded.

Critical Mass Lahore February 2009

critical-mass-iii2
The last Sunday of the month is approaching. You know this means it’s time for Critical Mass.
Join us at 10am this Sunday 22 February for Lahore’s 3rd Critical Mass cycling event.

Cyclists in China coined the term Critical Mass to describe the phenomenon that takes place when cyclists can take over streets and traffic dominated by automobiles. Critical Mass now takes place in over 200 cities around the world.
Critical Mass is not an organization. It is an idea. Critical Mass is about having clean cities that provide mobility and accessibility. Critical Mass is about clean transport.
Critical Mass is about showing a man on a cycle is the same as a man in a ten lac car. Critical Mass is about democracy. Critical Mass is about having the right to mobility.
Everyone in Lahore knows how bad the traffic is. Critical Mass Lahore is the first step in taking our streets back.
Critical Mass is an idea. Make it yours.

What do I need to participate in a Critical Mass Event?

Nothing but a road-worthy cycle and an sense of fun.

Where and how else to Critical Mass Events take place?

Critical Mass events are typically held on the last Friday of each month in cities all over the world. Get more information at http://www.critical-mass.info. For information about Critical Mass Lahore, some to Zakir Tikka at 10am on Sunday 22 February 2009.

Goodbye, Walton

lahore-flying-clubby Ahmad Rafay Alam

This summer I was the lucky recipient of a very special birthday gift: a charter flight over Lahore. I recommend the experience to everyone, more so now, given the tale that is to tell.

While approaching the Walton Airport runway – Walton is Lahore’s original airstrip and is the home of the erstwhile Lahore Flying Club (est. 1930) – and about where our tiny single-propeller Cessna, the Suzuki Alto of the air, crossed Ferozepur Road, I noticed a very large ditch almost directly under the flight path.
Continue reading

A tale of two cities (Part I)

By by Ahmad Rafay Alam

The chief minister of Punjab has requested NESPAK to come up with a way to widen Lahore’s canal road without cutting down any of the trees that line the only avenue of its kind in the world. Ostensibly, this is to cater to the increased congestion and automobile traffic that uses the now signal-free corridor through most of the city. The request made to NESPAK comes months after members of civil society were privately assured that the canal road widening plan would not be pursued by the Sharif government. Of course, NESPAK has no choice but to comply with the executive order it has received. For them, it is less of a study of whether the road can be widened and more of an exercise of how to get it done. One sympathises with the rock-and-hard-place NESPAK finds itself in, but the issue of the canal road widening needs to be understood within the context of the future of the city.

When the previous government attempted to widen the Canal Road, it was met with unexpected and unprecedented opposition from Lahoris keen to preserve one of the last jewels of its built heritage. The Lahore Canal was originally nothing but an irrigation channel diverted from the Ravi to feed the pleasure garden of Shalimar and bring life to Lahore’s first suburb: the Mughal-era’s Baghbanpura. The canal was later straightened and led to Head Bulloki by the English colonialist as part of their great effort to irrigate the Doab areas of Punjab. The canal system introduced by the Colonialists and its augmentation during Ayub Khan’s time must be given due credit. It was only by unleashing the potential of the fertile soil of Punjab did the Colonialist feed the belly of its Indian Empire; and the Green Revolution of the 1960s is the reason behind Ayub Khan’s “Golden Decade of Progress,” whatever that means. Make no mistake, the canal irrigation system of the Punjab is the most significant event ever to have taken place in South Asia. Continue reading

Allama Iqbal International Airport – Lahore

Source:

Allama Iqbal International Airport (IATA: LHE, ICAO: OPLA) is Pakistan’s second largest civil airport after Jinnah International Airport, [Karachi]. It is located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan and is commonly known as Lahore International Airport. It is named after the poet-philosopher Allama Iqbal who was a major proponent for the foundation of Pakistan. The airport currently has three terminals; the Allama Iqbal terminal, the Hajj terminal, and a cargo terminal. The airport is located about 15 kilometres from the centre of the city.

At independence, Walton Airport was the main airport of the city. When PIA acquired jet-engined airliners such as the Boeing 720s, Walton was unable to handle the large aircraft. This meant that the Government decided to build a brand new airport which was inaugrated in 1962. It was commonly known as the “Lahore International Airport” and was able to handle aircraft as large as the Boeing 747. Continue reading

Govt okays 16-km expressway for Lahore

Associated Press of Pakistan

LAHORE: In order to reduce the huge traffic burden on North-South axis of Lahore, the Punjab government has decided to construct 16-km-long one-way Elevated Expressway from Lahore Bridge (General Hospital) to Ravi Road.

According to official sources, it will be a one-lane road on raised platform open to downtown traffic at mornings and uptown traffic in the afternoons but it has yet to be decided if it would be workable both ways or not. The authorities planning the Expressway are however very clear that the elevated road will just be one-lane project for either north-to-south or south-to-north traffic. It can also be one way in the morning and the other way in the evenings. The objective of building an elevated expressway is to facilitate commuters to be able to go downtown straight at a non-stop run or go back home after a day’s job. Continue reading

Lahore Ring Road, a distant dream?

by Waseem-ur-Rehman Khan

The original idea of the Lahore Ring Road (LRR), the largest project of the province, was floated about 25 years back and a number of studies were conducted in this regard. The purpose of launching this project was to provide an alternative transport route to ease the traffic burden in Lahore. It saw many changes in its design – four times in 1992, 1999, 2004, and 2007 -for protecting the interests of some favourites in the government. Perhaps, still another. However, there are still more chances of re-designing the project. The project has already seen a number of changes that resulted in the increase in the cost and delay in the execution of the project. With the passage of each passing day, the cost of the project is an additional burden on the national exchequer. The logic behind these changes in design is to increase the ratio of commission given to various personalities.

In 1991, the World Bank (WB) prepared a feasibility report on 60 kilometres Ring Road. In 1995, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) presented its Ring Road scheme. However, it was decided to include Raiwind Road and with this alteration the total length of the road increased to 75 kilometers. The feasibility of the Ring Road project was finalised in 1997. President Musharraf performed the ground-breaking of the Lahore Ring Road Project on December 22, 2004. Continue reading