Archive for the ‘Infrastructure’ Category

Experimental Construction in Lahore

The opening ceremony of Institute for Experimental Construction (IEC) was held in the Beaconhouse National University, Raiwind Road, Lahore on April 29, 2011.  The theme of the event was Mud Housing and Appropriate Technology. Other related topics like Natural Disasters and Slums and Upgrading of Housing Experiments also came under lime light. The demonstration and discussion also included not only the construction but also the technical infra-structure (electricity supply, toilets, water filtration) and more.

Shalamar Interchange

Lahore – the heart of Pakistan is known for its built heritage – historic buildings and splendid structures. For centuries the successive regimes have been enriching the city with love and determination. The construction of each successive era; Mughal, Victorian and the modern, has added tremendously to the grandeur of the city.

Shalimar Interchange is a useful addition in the landmark constructions of the metropolis. Constructed on the road to historic Shalimar Gardens, it is a link with our rich heritage and continuation of the artistic vision and the superb building skills that our master craftsmen possess.

Shalimar Interchange is a state of the art project constructed by Frontier Works Organisation – the leading construction organisation of the country. It is the first 3 level interchange in Punjab over the canal and the railway line and comprises of a 1.6 km Flyover, 2 Underpasses, 2 Ground Level Bridges and 11 km service roads around the site.

The flyover-bridge is of the latest design that is most suitable for the locality. Its sleek transoms (pillars) and girders radiate openness. Besides regulating the traffic at a previous chokepoint, it will provide maximum utility for the residents by uplifting the whole area, says Khwaja Ahmed Hassan, Chairman Task Force Lahore Road Rehablitation Project, I).

The interchange will greatly benefit the people of Lahore by improving the city’s traffic flow. The Mughalpura crossing – accommodating bulk of the city’s traffic, was a choke point where even the ambulances were held up in the traffic jams. The majestic flyover now conveniently connects the city with cantonment. On the canal side; the underpasses convert the canal bank road into a fast moving signal free corridor. Commuters to the Shalimar Gardens, Jallo Park and Mughalpura Dry Port will be much facilitated by the facilities of the Interchange. {Written by Husain Qazi and X-Posted from Light Within}

VIP movement & traffic problems

Since our ‘beloved’ president Mr. 10% err Zardari is in town today till another week, the ongoing traffic miseries are certainly on the rise apart from the roads overclouded by the PPP flags and banners; Here are some tips to follow before you start your commute:

– Tune into Traffic Radio RASTA FM 88.8 often and listen to the traffic updates
– Call 24×7 Traffic Helpline 1915 before you leave your home
– Visit RASTA.PK to see the updates on traffic

P.S: My personal experience of 1915 helpline is very good when i called them early today for the first time to check on Mall Road status and the lady operator told me that there were some portions closed due to security but they have been restored 5 minutes before i called. And I had a nice and easy commute to downtown; As per the lady operator, you can also get help if your car breaks down.

Google Maps & Lahore: Mapping ‘Party’

Are you map literate?  Do you reside in Lahore? 

Then you might want to check out  the Google Mapping ‘party’ taking place at FAST-NU this Saturday, 2nd  January, 2010. 

Sneak peak at what its all about— Badshahi Mosque and neighborhood.

Some information from the organizers:

Greetings!

FAST-NU and the Google Map Maker Community in Pakistan officially invite you to a half-day of discussion, interaction and mapping fun! Google Map Maker is an open editing tool for Google Maps, and has allowed crowd-sourced mapping of Pakistan on an unprecedented scale, as highlighted by Google.
In order to take stock of what has been accomplished so far, and more importantly, what opportunities lie ahead, FAST-NU’s ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Chapter welcomes Google to campus to host a workshop and discussion on crowd-sourced mapping of our cities. Take a look at the links below to see Lahore’s map on Google Maps today, to see how Badshahi Mosque’s neighborhood has been mapped, for example.
Now, help shape the opportunities which lie ahead for Pakistan’s urban development using maps, the internet and the power of collective public thinking.
Join us on the 2nd of January, 2010 from 12:30pm to 5:00pm, at FAST-NU (see it on the map)
….(click here to read the rest on the event page on Facebook)

For further information and to register–click here.

Important: You must pre-register at http://local.com.pk/mappingparty  to join in all the fun on Saturday!

If you attend–do come back to share your experience here on Lahore Metblog. :)

Sign the Save the Lahore Canal petition

Canal
To view the petition, click here.

To: Citizens of Lahore

As you may have heard, The Punjab government is planning to widen the road on both sides of the Lahore Canal, from Thokar Niaz Baig to Dharampura, as a so-called solution for the congestion on the canal road due to the rapidly increasing automobile population. The Punjab Chief Minister had announced that the project would begin immediately after Eid-ul-Azha, however, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took suo moto notice and effectively restrained the government from commencing work on the project on 27 November 2009. The government has not fulfilled its legal obligation of carrying out an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)for the project and the lack of transparency of the program is depriving the citizens of Lahore from having a say in this change.

It is the consensus of a great number of organizations and groups of concerned citizens that the Rs 3.15 billion project violates basic principles of traffic design and will not only prove ineffective in countering traffic congestion, but also lead to an outstanding number of problems related to the well-being of the public and the environment. Widened roads have historically proven to only end up attracting more traffic, and the government’s focus on providing for the car-owning citizen over the abounding majority (which requires public transport, sidewalks, public toilets, phones and drinking water) is entirely against the principles of equity. The project also means the cutting down of several thousand old trees and losing over 50 acres of the green belt, which is sure to lead to a staggering number of environmental problems including rising temperatures and carbon and toxic content, not to mention the loss of ancient species of trees and shrubs that provide shelter to a variety of birds and small animals. The historical, environmental, recreational and aesthetic value of this green space cannot be stressed enough.

We demand that our voice be heard to address these critical issues and help preserve the beauty and grandeur of our city.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

(This petition was prepared by Lahore Chitrikar and their initiative is acknowledged)

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

CanalFrom 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.

“The project envisages felling of over 5,000 mature trees and taking away 51 acres of green land from the general public. Road widening is also against the master plan of the city and suffers from major defects in terms of urban planning and transparency.

Previously, an EIA was conducted for the Rs700 million project, but citizens overwhelmingly rejected it at the public hearing. A case is pending with the Lahore High Court against the EIA for the previous project,” said the application moved by the concerned citizens gathered under the banner of Shajar Dost.

They had feared that during the Eid holidays, the priceless, speechless trees would be the first casualty of this development project.

Conservationist Dr Ajaz Anwar had told Dawn that some three years ago, Lahore was deprived of a historical asset during Eidul Azha holidays.

“Haveli Mian Khan was built during the regime of Emperor Shah Jehan. It was spreading over acres — from Rang Mahal to Mochi Gate. Gradually it fell victim to commercial vandalism – the beautiful and priceless structures were replaced with ugly plazas and shops. Only a wall and its main entrance near Rang Mahal had survived but it was also demolished during Eidul Azha holidays three years ago by the men of one Raju Pehalwan with the patronage and connivance of some government officials,” recalled Dr Anwar who had been the founding secretary of Lahore Conservation Society and a senior faculty member of the National College of Arts.

Say a little prayer for Lahore

Canal IIThe 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. The foreign media took to the sound bite like a starving man to a steak and now, once again, Pakistan is portrayed as two-dimensional: a country teeming with brave designers, fighting Islamic militancy. My friend and critic Faiza S. Khan said it perfectly in her column at openthemagazine.com:

“One designer lamentably laid claim to being ‘a very brave woman’ for displaying her clothes on a catwalk at a five-star hotel in a country where women have been known to be murdered, maimed, mutilated and on occasion buried alive, where girls’ schools are routinely attacked and where, even at the best of times, women’s rights, outside of a tiny income bracket, are limited at best. Another designer called it an act of defiance in the face of the Taliban, glossing over the fact that fashion shows do, in fact, take place with some regularity in Pakistan, and if one must intellectualise this, then it could more honestly be described as a display of affluence in the face of a nation torn apart by the gaping chasm between rich and poor. Why the foreign media can’t ask Pakistani designers questions about their work and why they, in turn, yield to the temptation, like Miss Universe, of providing a sound bite on world peace is beyond me.”

Over the weekend, the Chief Minister of Punjab announced that he was allocating Rs3.15 billion for a project to widen Lahore’s Canal Road. The decision can only be described, at best, as a reckless adventure and, at worst, a catastrophe waiting to happen.

In 2006, the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) of Lahore Development Agency (LDA) proposed to widen the Canal Bank Road, purportedly to reduce traffic congestion in the city. Because the project was over Rs50 million, the provisions of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act,

1997 kicked in and TEPA was constrained to engage the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the project. This was done and the EIA was presented to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Punjab, in a public hearing where hundreds of Lahoris gathered to protest against the decision to deprive the city of one of its last surviving environmental heritages: the 14 kilometres of green belt that line the canal and make the street one of the most unique avenues in the world.

The EPA, Punjab approved the EIA but before the project could go any further, the Lahore Bachao Tehreek (an umbrella organisation of dozens of grass-root NGOs as well as WWF-Pakistan) challenged the veracity of the EIA as well as the approval granted to it by the EPA, Punjab. The case remains pending before the Lahore High Court.

The announcement by the mhief minister, giving the go-ahead for the project “after completion of design”, raises some important points. First, it is clear that the project approved by the CM is not the project that the TEPA had originally proposed in 2006. For one thing, the cost of this new project is nearly five times the cost of the original design. Also, according to news reports, the new project is set to incorporate new features along the Canal Road (like “beautifications” which, I must hastily point out, in the context of roads means nothing).

What this means is that the Government of Punjab cannot use the EIA approval granted to the original TEPA project. According to our laws which, the last time I checked still apply to everyone including the government, road projects in excess of Rs50 million must have an EIA carried out and should be approved by the EPA.

But the observance of legal and procedural formalities is not the primary concern that most Lahoris have about the road widening project. It’s an open secret that the Government of Punjab is operating on overdraft. In such a situation, it would seem bizarre that the provincial government would choose to spend Rs3.15 billion — nearly 10 per cent of the allocations it made last year to the three heads of health, public health and education — on one road in one city of the province.

Less than 20 per cent of Lahoris have access to cars. For the vast majority of the over eight million people who try and live and work in this city, transport and mobility are dependent on motorcycles, cycles and what is euphemistically referred to as “public transport” (there are less than 1,000 buses that ply the city’s streets). Ever since the previous tenure of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, when the Punjab Road Transport Corporation was shut down, neither this nor the PML-Q government of Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi have spent a rupee on public transport, which, by the way, is the only way to reduce traffic congestion in a city. Now we are told that a seriously broke government is about to spend billions of rupees it doesn’t have on a road it doesn’t need for people who don’t want or use it. Remarkable indeed.

In a presentation made by NESPAK on August 31 this year, the various options of widening the Canal Road were presented to the CM. According to NESPAK, all the road widening projects would “fail” by 2020 — meaning thereby that if the government didn’t do something to invest in public transport, and soon, the billion-rupee road widening adventure is, at best, a 10-year frolic. Is the Government of Punjab serious? Does the chief minister not know that, according to the Punjab Economic Survey of 2005 carried out by the Planning and Development Department (P&D), over 50 per cent of Punjabis live in slums? Who is this road being widened for?

All too often our politicians harbor the mistaken belief that infrastructure development is the only thing that will make our cities “modern”; that infrastructure is the only thing that will attract the foreign investment necessary to bring economic prosperity to a developing nation. But where are the examples of the success of this model? Our own urban Guru, Arif Hasan, in his brilliant essay “The world class city concept and its repercussion on urban planning in the Asia-Pacific region” demonstrates that our preoccupation with a modern city is also the root of our urban decay. But who in the government reads? Oh, save a little prayer for Lahore.

From The News, 13 November 2009 (http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_detail.asp?id=208278)

It’s time for Lahore’s 8th Critical Mass Event

critical-mass-ii
It’s time for Critical Mass July 2009
We meet at Zakir Tikka intersection on Sarwar Road in the Lahore Cantonment at 6.15pm on Sunday 26 July 2009.

Critical Mass is about having clean cities that provide mobility and accessibility. Critical Mass is about clean transport. Critical Mass is about putting public good over private interest. Critical Mass is about making friends. Critical Mass is about reclaiming public space. 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 not an organization. It is an idea. It is about making a statement. Everyone in Lahore knows how bad the traffic is. Critical Mass Lahore is a step towards making our city clean and taking our streets back.

Critical Mass is an idea. Make it yours.

What do I need to participate in a Critical Mass Event?
All you need is a road-worthy cycle and an sense of fun. Buy, beg, borrow or steal a cycle if you have to, but join the Mass. Come, cycle around Lahore. Reclaim your city, and have more fun than you think!

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. For information about Critical Mass Lahore, be at Zakir Tikka at 6:15pm this Sunday 26 July 2009 or visit the Critical Mass Lahore Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38992998526). Important: Be on time!!!

Lahore Bachao Tehreek Press Conference

To discuss the latest initiative of the Punjab government to allow or party allow commercialization of some major streets in the city, Lahore Bachao Tehreek is holding a press conference at the Lahore Press Club today; 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Another matter of concern for long has been the intentions of widening the Canal Road which requires cutting down of thousands of trees.

The press conference will be used to convey the points stressed upon at Lahore Bachao Tehreek’s session on 15th of July. We will update you on the things shared at the press conference afterwards.

New District Ravi

Punjab Board of Revenue has suggested to make a new district by adding northern part of Lahore (Shahdra Town) and some portion of Sheikhupura named as Ravi District. There has been a mix reaction around due to some part of Lahore being shifted into Ravi and some people are also not happy by loosing the identity of being a proud Lahore.

LMB has created a poll to get an opinion about the same, please participate and let everyone hear you.

links:
Government plans to carve a new district from Lahore
Mixed reaction to ‘Ravi district’ plan

[poll=2]

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