These days Lahore has become the hotspot of traffic congestion. Being the 18th most populous city in the world Lahore demands great attention in transport sector to ensure comfortable and dignified transportation system.

As every development process demands sacrifice, the infrastructural development requires cutting of trees. It is undoubtedly a great loss to cut down grown trees but the refusal to do so will put our future at stake. Recently some development projects required cutting of the trees but the news went viral. Civil society has expressed fear that by cutting down the trees Lahore will lose its charm, we will be depriving our generations from the gift we received.

I would like to request the civil society to understand the situation. Trees are the lungs of the city and traffic congestion is destroying them like cancer. The lungs are already infected, if we want to save them from any further lose we must nip the evil in the bud.

Today we have a choice, we can expand road, we can plant more trees, and we can control the load of traffic but if the required measure is not adopted today no matter how many trees we leave behind won’t bring any good.

We are fortunate that we have a caring leader like Mian Shehbaz Sharif who holds a mission to make Lahore greener and cleaner.

On the advice of CM Punjab, 1% of every development project shall be given to the PHAs for plantation purpose even if there is no cutting of trees involved.

Chief Minister of Punjab has made Lahore an exemplary district with regard to plantation and greenery. Punjab is the only province where horticulture authorities are established to look after the ecology and biodiversity of the urban centers. When people from other parts of the country visit Lahore they observe a higher level of floral decoration and greenery in the city recalling why it is called the City of Gardens.

Khadim-e- Punjab has made hectic efforts to carry out the development projects along with the promotion of healthy, green and clean Lahore. In the past 2 years three major infrastructure development projects have taken place, which on one hand changed the fate of road traffic tremendously, and on the other hand improved the environmental conditions.

The construction of the signal free corridor required cutting of 125 trees in the past. Initially it seemed that Lahore will lose its beauty and charm forever, but soon 400 trees were replanted making the location even greener. Today when people use this signal free corridor to reach Main Boulevard, Gulberg they realize why it is important to put development first. Now not only do billions of people get a smooth and time saving ride due to signal free corridor, but the floral decoration on every main location fills their heart with pleasure as well.

Canal Road widening project is another example of development with the fulfillment of ecological demands. Canal Road is one of the busiest roads of Lahore and due to unavailability of required space people have to face traffic jams, blockage and gridlocks. It was the need of the hour to expand the road. The Canal Road will be expanded by sacrificing 1,300 trees which will be replaced by 30,000 trees in near future. Punjab Horticulture authority (PHA) has assured that the heritage and beauty of Canal Road will suffer no loss and for every tree being cut ten trees will be planted as replacement.

In the construction of Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project 620 trees had to be sadly cut down. Punjab Government will compensate the lose by planting 6200 trees of valuable species.

Apart from that, under “Khadim-e-Aala Rural Road Programme” the 2,000 km under construction roads will have vital plants on both sides of the road which will add 30,000 more trees to make Punjab Greener.

All these development projects strengthen our belief that Punjab Government is considerate to introduce development projects with satisfactory reforms in tree plantation and conservation of environment. Punjab Government has prioritized the safety of existing plants but despite tiring efforts some trees had to be cut down.

Considering the climate change factor new plantation schemes are introduced in which plants with higher survival rates will be planted on the sites of development projects. All the new trees will be at least 6-7 feet high. The authorities are focusing on choosing the trees for plantation that have a greater ability to absorb carbon so that the environment can be sustained.

Where the development made in infrastructure will enable smooth and steady flow of traffic it will also make Lahore ten times greener. Within a short span of time there will be splendid fruit yielding and flowering trees introducing a better heritage for our upcoming generations.