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The last week’s decision regarding appointment of an officiating, but fully empowered, managing director for the Lahore Parking Company (LPC) reflects that the government is serious in completing various pending tasks, including the parking policy, bylaws, enforcement and introduction of automated parking lots in the provincial metropolis.

The officiating charge of the post has been given to the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Usman Qayyum, who had worked against the slot as acting MD for six months after transfer of the then office holder Mian Shakeel who is currently working as Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) director general.

This time, Mr Qayyum has been given officiating charge of the post for 90 days, at a crucial time when the city’s parking system is being modernised through automation.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, after expressing dissatisfaction over replies of the last MD Mr Taseer Ahmad to his queries regarding achieving the company’s core objectives, such as automating the manual parking lots, construction of more parking plazas etc, during a meeting of the LPC Board of Directors on July 15, had relieved him of the charge, ordering search for the new regular managing director.

According to officials privy to the meeting, though Mr Ahmad MD had complained about lack of funds for the automation of parking lots, plazas etc, the CM told the officer that he should have sent him developmental proposals in this regard since there was no fund shortage.

Mr Qayyum has been asked to revive all the plans with regard to development of automated parking lots and share these with the LPC BoD and then devise an action plan in this regard.

He has also been asked to prepare for the next meeting of the LPC BoD that may also be presided over by the chief minister.

Since the city’s parking issues needed to be resolved at the earliest to for smooth traffic flow, security, law and order etc, the government will have to allocate massive funds for the purpose.

According to sources, the LPC, with a view to modernise its infrastructure, has also a plan to import rotary parking system which will need massive fund allocation.

Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) intends to rehabilitate Maryam Zamani mosque located in front of Akbari gate.

The mosque is surrounded by Rim Market encroachments on Fort Road. For removal of these encroachments and conservation works inside the mosque the WCLA has prepared a PC-I.

According to officials, the project will cost Rs90 million, including the conservation of the entire mosque (private chambers (hujras), floor, gates, walls, fresco work, ceilings, roof, domes etc) and its exterior.

Mariam Zamani or Begum Shahi mosque is located inside Masti Gate opposite the Lahore Fort. Said to be the first Mughal mosque in the city, it is in poor conditions and needs urgent conservation.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2016