LAHORE - The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) which showered Rs11 million for Canal Festival, has justified the spending by saying that it was important for people to be provided with a pleasing environment to live in the age of depression owing to law and order situation in the country.
However a few think it is wastage of resources at a time when people are dying of hunger and soaring inflation.
Beginning on March 15, the event would last till March 31 and around 0.8 million would be spent daily on the festival.
According to officials of PHA, an estimated half a million commuters travel on both sides of Canal Ban Road from the Mall Road Underpass to Jail Road underpass, which is about one and half kilometer long section and one of the most busiest part of the road.
The department has left no stone unturned in decorating the City Canal by setting up hefty number of different monuments, statues and colorful lights aided by generators.  Oblivious of exact number of beneficiaries, PHA Communication Director Suhail Bhatti says “unlimited number of people enjoyed the festival during the worst law and order situation and economic crunch in the country.”
He said: “The event brought in relief.” He said that thousands of people are visiting the ‘Canal Mela’ and enjoying the view.” He said that they received positive feedback from different segments of the society.
‘Citizens especially kids and women are taking keen interest in watching the decorated canal and are appreciating different floating monuments, he added. He admitted that the ‘Canal Mela’ is causing traffic issues especially in the evening. In this regard the PHA has requested the traffic police to depute some officials on both sides of the road. He appealed the citizens to avoid parking their vehicles on the road of canal side and use the bridge to cross over the road.  
Reportedly, some citizens received minor injuries in some road accidents while crossing the road or while parking vehicles at canal side of the road.
Similar festivities have been arranged by the local authorities in other districts of the Punjab like Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Multan and other big cities of the province.