LAHORE, Jan 20: The Punjab government has failed to fulfil its promise to open Kalma Chowk for routine traffic on Jan 10, causing a great deal of inconvenience for motorists due to extensive construction activities.
One of the busy intersections, Kalma Chowk on Ferozepur Road links various residential and commercial localities, including Gulberg, Model Town, Garden Town, Barkat Market, Muslim Town, Qadhafi Stadium and Khan Colony (Naseerabad).
The intersection had been closed for traffic for 20 days (from Dec 19, 2012 to Jan 9, 2013) for completion of a small stretch of the dedicated Metro Bus System (MBS) corridor, a bus station and Kalma Chowk underpasses.
On Dec 18, MPA Saeed Elahi along with the Lahore commissioner and some senior officials of LDA and TEPA during a press conference at Kalma Chowk had announced its closure by Jan 9 amid a commitment to open it on Jan 10.
The closure of the intersection has intensified traffic congestion in the city, forcing the people to criticise ongoing construction of various city projects.
The intersection is unlikely to be opened by Jan 25 keeping in view the construction of sidewalls and roads of the underpasses.
At present traffic police officials are diverting traffic from Centre Point (Gulbrerg) to Barkat Market via nursery stop’s service road, Model Town Mor and Garden Town. An official seeking anonymity said as school goers, government and private sector employees and traders were the worst hit segments of society due to the prevailing situation, the department concerned didn’t bother their miseries while executing various projects simultaneously.
He said as the situation had already caused massive traffic jams on Multan Road (owing to construction and remodelling of the road from Scheme Mor to Chauburji), Ferozepur Road, Lytton Road, Qartaba Chowk, Canal Road, Jail Road, The Mall, Ravi Road and others due to execution of projects, the closure of Kalma Chowk since Dec 19 had aggravated their problems.
A motorcyclist, Imran Zaheer, said since closure of the intersection, he was many a time trapped in long diversions whenever he travelled from Liberty Roundabout to Chungi (Multan Raod).
“If a biker moves from Gulberg to Multan Chungi/Multan Road, he is either forced to adopt a long route to reach there via Qadhafi Stadium, Ferozepur Road, Kalma Chowk Flyover, Model Town Mor, Garden Town, Barkat Market, Campus, Bhaikaywal Mor and Wahdat Road or go straight to Centre Point, turn on nursery service road and move towards Model Town Mor and Garden Town and then reach Multan Road through Barkat Market, Campus and Wahdat Road,” he said.
Zaheer said the situation was not only puzzling the citizens but also wasting their time and increasing mobility expenses.
TEPA Chief Engineer Saeed Akhtar said: “We had planned to open Kalma Chowk on Jan 10 and could not do so because of non-completion of underpasses. The intersection is likely to be opened fully within the next 10 days after completion of the underpasses.