The other side of urban development

LAHORE – The provincial government’s sudden interest in new development projects in the City has lifted the face of many localities, but pending construction work has also left many roads trenched, thereby increasing problems for the common citizens, a survey conducted by TheNation revealed.

With most of the City’s roads dug up for laying of sewerage pipelines, widening or surfacing, the majority of Lahore’s citizens fail to reach their destinations on time because of traffic jams and congested diversion routes. Moreover, a large number of the roads awaiting surfacing or construction are enlisted as major roads and have to bear over 60pc load of the City’s traffic.A district officer in the City District Government Lahore’s Road Department disclosed on condition of anonymity that the life of most of the major roads in the City – The Mall, Jail Road, Ferozepur Road, Lytton Road, McLeod Road, Abbot Road, Multan Road, Lower Mall, Ravi Road, Mozang Road, Shahrah-e-Tijarat and Lawrence Road among others – had expired for over a decade.

“These roads actually needed to be reconstructed, but the government is just covering their damaged portions through repairing or surfacing, which is not only making them uneven but also resulting in waste of public time and money,” he added.

The district officer said that the government, which was spending billions of rupees on surfacing, was reconstructing only a few roads in the City, including Allama Iqbal Road at an estimated cost of over Rs550 million.

On the other hand, the government is spending about Rs100 million on the surfacing of Shahrah-i-Tijarat and over Rs400 million on reconstruction of some of its portions. Moreover, the government has approved about Rs10 billion for the remodelling of Multan Road from Chauburji Chowk to Thokar Niaz Baig, but construction is yet to start because of paucity of funds.

“The provincial government’s sudden interest in development projects is a part of its campaign for the forthcoming general elections,” said the district officer, adding that the government was also awarding contracts to some of its blue-eyed construction companies on their given bids instead of following a transparent procedure.

Besides reconstruction and surfacing of some major roads, the government spent billions of rupees on the construction of new roads in residential localities. Different government departments started excavating these roads after only a few months of construction for laying sewerage, and telephone and gas pipelines, which is in sheer violation of construction rules.

The government has initiated several development projects across the City without any prior notification to the public. These projects include: Shahrah-e-Tijarat, Circular Road, Queen Marry College Road, Kharak Road, a portion of GT Road, Shalimar Link Road, Peco Road, Katcha Link Road, and a number of arteries and small roads and streets in residential and commercial areas, especially backward and underdeveloped areas of the City.

Citizens’ miseries were further intensified when roads were excavated in the absence of a formal traffic plan for commuters. As a result, frequent and huge traffic jams became the order of the day on roads in and around the City’s business and commercial centres.

In addition, the rampant construction work has left the city engulfed in a blanket of dust, creating problems for the residents of surrounding localities. The polluted environment is posing health hazards to the population.

Expired City roads

.    The Mall
.    Jail Road
.    Ferozepur Road
.    Lytton Road
.    McLeod Road
.    Abbot Road
.    Multan Road
.    Lower Mall
.    Ravi Road
.    Mozang Road
.    Shahrah-e-Tijarat
.    Lawrence Road


The Lahore Ring Road, currently under construc...

The Lahore Ring Road, currently under construction, 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)