LAHORE Nov 18 (TNS): Every city or town in Pakistan is famous for one thing or the other. However, for Lahoris all arguments cease to matter before the simple motto – Lahore Lahore ae (Lahore is Lahore) and Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has been the main force behind the implementation of a program for enhancing the beautification of development projects, through use of horticulture.
Various measures were taken for the promotion of horticulture. The Punjab government remains committed to improve pace and quality of development in the province.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has made every effort to beautify the provincial metropolis. Heaps of garbage was removed from the city and the process of shifting cattle was also completed. Iqbal Park was renovated to provide recreational facilities to the residents of the Walled city.
A comprehensive strategy was evolved regarding sanitation of the city while arrangements were made for the disposal of rainwater before the start of the summer season. The city was cleared of billboard menace for restoring its historical beauty. The installation of billboards was disallowed on roofs.
He also ordered the removal of LCDs installed at different roads and said that a policy should be evolved for their installation at suitable places. The construction of all broken roads was ensured besides making certain maximum plantation on all roads.
Almost 300 parks were restored in their original shape and all shops present there were removed for the provision of better recreational facilities to the people. Jallo Park was transformed into a park of international standard.
The Taskforce on Horticulture implemented the project of making the provincial metropolis a city of gardens and beautiful models and landscapes were developed at various places. Beautification of 12 important roads was also completed.
Lahorites are all praise for Shahbaz Sharif for transforming the city into a very beautiful place, with a number of underpasses, flyovers and an orderly traffic. He spent a huge chunk of funds on beautifying Lahore.
A comprehensive strategy was evolved in this regard under which an amount of more than Rs 480 million was spent for the provision of recreational facilities in the parks of the city, historical and cultural heritage of Lahore was renovated for promoting tourist activities.
Under Lahore Tree Project 25 thousand trees were imported with the co-operation of private sector for giving the city a green look. CM Shehbaz Sharif also gave approval to the Garden Punjab Project under which all parks and tourist spots of the province were improved. The Chairlift System Project near River Ravi was envisaged and widening and beautification of Lahore canal was done. At present there are 856 parks, green belts and sports grounds in the city.
New projects like Ravi Park, Jallo Botanical Park, Expo Center Johar Town, Green House, Lahore-Kasur road and Canal Bank road Landscape were undertaken. Souvenir shops were set up in the parks of Lahore. Construction of parking plazas in the Liberty Market and the Park and Ride project for the beautification of the MM Alam Road was also completed.
To restore the original fabric of the Walled City, Shahbaz Sharif’s Government of Punjab initiated many projects for the sustainable development of Lahore city.
The objective of the projects was to preserve the Culture and Heritage along with providing the modern living facilities to the residents of Lahore. The project also aspired to promote the tourism and economic potential of Lahore.
The Pilot Project envisaged the creation of 1.6 km long heritage trail (Shahi Guzargah) that leads from Delhi Gate to Masti Gate. The royal trail connects along many of the heritage monuments like Shahi Hamam, Masjid Wazir Khan, Sonehri Masjid and Begum Shahi Masjid.
Package- 1 was marked out of the Royal Trail which was from Delhi Gate to Chowk Purani Kotwali. This Pilot Project Package -1 entailed complete restoration and renovation of the entire built heritage, as well as all the urban infrastructure and general services like electricity, gas, telecommunication and water sewerage systems. The total cost for the Pilot Project Package -1 (Delhi Gate to Chowk Kotwali) was Rs.1359.778 million , out of which Rs. 724.518 were allocated for Urban Rehabilitation and Infrastructure Improvement. The project had 49% Government of Punjab and 51% World Bank share. A total number of 57 streets and main Royal Trail starting from Delhi Gate up till Chowk Kotwali were restored in this first phase.
To implement the work in Package 1, a Resettlement Action Plan was devised to compensate the dislocated encroachers, shopkeepers, daily vendors and sellers. This plan was devised after several surveys and was implemented with the approval of Government of Punjab and the World Bank. Total amount of Rs. 14.00 million was allocated for removing the encroachers and paying them suitable compensations.
Along with conservation and restoration works, the CM also worked on community development, education and behavioral change through different campaigns. Awareness sessions and campaigns on heritage, different diseases and solid waste management were regularly held. The Communication Wing also organized tours for visitors from Greater Lahore for exploring the culture and heritage. These activities were held important to bring sustainability in the project.
Shahi Hamam also known as Wazir Khan Hamam, built by Wazir Khan in 1633 A.D. who lived during the era of Shah Jehan was restored. All the encroachments around Shahi Hamam were removed. The decayed parts of northern and western sides of Shahi Hamam were repaired with standard size bricks. Repair work of Western parapet, its pointing and three northern cells and digging out the original floor was also done.
A project aimed at restoring the façade of historical buildings in the city was launched. They were preserved without changing their structure as the original identity and beauty of Lahore was due to its historical structures. Initially, four buildings were chosen. They were the Shah Din building, which was built in 1910 and is partly owned by the National Insurance Company; Ghulam Rasool building, which was built in 1916 and houses Ferozsons, Bawa Dinga Singh building, which was built in 1927 and houses a Bata store, and Ahmad Mansion, also known as Lakshmi Mansion, which dates back to 1927.
The walled city area of Lahore was restored as it’s the most historical neighborhood in Pakistan. It has become like old areas in European cities with shops, restaurants, art galleries etc.