LAHORE: In order to curb traffic inconvenience and smog, the commissioner has issued an order for the departments concerned to carry out the beautification/renovation work of the underpasses of the canal road only at night from 10pm to 6am.

Earlier, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had taken notice of development works launched in the city and directed the government to refrain from doing the renovation work in the underpasses before midnight.

Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa who is also the DG of the Lahore Development Authority issued a notification, stating all development activities on the project, titled “Beautification of Underpasses along Canal Bank Road from Thokar Niaz Beg to Dharampura”, executed by the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa), would be carried out only between 10pm to 6am till completion of the project to avoid traffic jams causing smog and public inconvenience. It further stated Tepa should also ensure water sprinkling to mitigate dust effects after every two hours on all project sites.

Tepa launched civil work to beautify 17 underpasses on both sides of the Canal Road two weeks back. The work is a part of the government’s plan to beautify underpasses, intersections, spaces, and overhead bridges, etc. The government allocated Rs300m for beautification of both sides of the 17 underpasses on the Canal Road.

The civil society raised serious objections to spending huge amounts of public funds on the beatification/renovation project. They demanded the government utilise funds for any other public welfare project as the country was facing a financial crisis. They said the funds should be diverted for the upgrade of schools, colleges, dispensaries and clean drinking water projects. They said the government should change its priorities and use the funds to facilitate the inflated-hit public.

Abdullah, a civil society member, said the ongoing beautification in the underpasses was unnecessary. He alleged that the caretaker government was launching back to back development projects only for kickbacks and added that the caretaker government had no mandate or power to spend public money on these types of development projects. He said the only job of the caretaker set-up was to look after day-to-day affairs of the government and assist the election commission in holding general election.

Tepa Chief Engineer Iqrar Hussain told Dawn the beautification project was launched at 17 underpasses on the Canal Road after 15 years as the underpasses were looking dull.

He said the tiles and colours of the underpasses faded away and they needed to be fixed.

“We are also installing lighting at the underpasses,” he said and added that the people have sprayed paint while the condition of the underpasses had deteriorated in these 15 years.

“The new graphics and lighting will improve the beautification of these underpasses,” he said and added that the project would be completed by Dec 30.

Commissioner Randhawa visited an underpasses project at Thokar Niaz Beg to inspect the ongoing development work late on Friday night. Tepa Chief Engineer Iqrar Hussain briefed him on the decoration and beautification.

He directed the officials to do the decoration and beautification work during the night hours and that the project should be completed before the deadline.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2023

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