Lahore, heart and soul of the people of Pakistan, is the historical capital of Punjab. Its old walled city along with its famous gates, fort and mosques still stand preserved. Lahore is a beautiful lush green city of parks, gardens and play grounds. It is the centre of arts, culture, sports and education. Young men and women of Lahore are famous for being attractive, tall, beautiful, smart, healthy looking and well dressed. The latest new ladies dress fashion designs originate from Lahore from its early days. People of this city are very hospitable and eating is their hobby. Therefore a popular saying about this city that he who has not seen Lahore is not born yet is correct.
The LDA (Lahore Development Authority) in the beginning, anticipating future city population and its congestion had planned remarkable development of posh residential colonies like Gulberg, Garden Town, Muslim Town and Faisal Town in the outskirts of city, providing all necessary public facilities in each locality. The city development continued smoothly, however during the period of last twenty years, increased migration of the people from rural areas towards the cities along with the unnoticed increase in population due to inefficient health services and public awareness, Pakistan faces today population explosion and its dangerous economic, agricultural and development consequences.
A time arrived when some of the politicians and influential figures of the city in collaboration with LDA high ups and wink from the higher authorities, had got a policy of commercialization of the residential posh colonies approved by LDA. Immediately, the beautiful residential bungalows along the main Boulevard of Gulberg had started being demolished and an unplanned and unnoticed storm of Plazas of unlimited heights without the exit gates, stairs for public safety from the emergencies like fire and earth quakes had started rising up. The process of commercialization instead of being reversed by now, continues still so much so that the main Boulevard of other colonies and even their inner streets have also been occupied by schools, colleges, universities, offices, hotel, hostels, petrol pumps, hospitals and even suspicious centres. Consequently each one of these have constructed illegal car brakers in front over the roads. Therefore the main Boulevard have been converted to future Anarkalies. These areas have become heavily populated, congested and polluted which have made the life of the residents a hell and destroyed their peace and privacy, adding further problems of gas, water shortage and parking. In addition a mushroom of new residential colonies, many of which are illegal and unapproved are rapidly growing up all around the city. The empty legal plots belonging to Pakistanis abroad have been occupied by land mafia and buildings constructed. The city is flooded with Kachi-Abadees all around. Thus the Lahore city planning has not made it Paris but destroyed it.
Model Town is a beautiful lush green and well-designed old residential society of Lahore in which all the necessary public facilities are available. It is controlled and run by an organized and elected society. However with changing time, a fast growing trend of commercialization of residential areas along the main circular road has also started and if it is allowed to continue and a notice has not been taken by the society, strict laws are not made against the defaulters, the people of Model Town would face the consequences like rest of the city.
Discipline of a nation is judged from their road traffic. Unfortunately a proper, planned traffic policy for the city of Lahore has not been prepared for a long time as a result of which the traffic in in a mess and shambles. The city population number of all kinds of vehicles has increased, city environment polluted and traffic jams becoming frequent, painful and tiring. Regarding rickshaws and chingchees in particular, the engineer who had designed it must be an evil genius. In countries like Thailand & Sri Lanka, a rickshaw is elongated, roomy, comfortable, and a place on the back for a suitcase to keep and all its parameters in working order. In Pakistan on the other hand, its size has been halved, light and unstable, unsafe for both driver and passengers, difficult to enter and come out, none of its parameters in working order. The drivers, many of them untrained, are without necessary documents and mostly are running on roads on gas with its cylinder beside. Their number in the city has increased enormously. Similar is the number of motorcycles. The service lanes of the city are flooded with cars, trucks, rickshaws and chingchees and sometime huge tank full of petrol smuggled from Baluchistan moving in the early morning in the thickly populated residential areas, unchecked and unnoticed by any of the Government agency.
In order to solve the public traffic hazard, city roads have been widened by cutting down large of old valuable green trees, foot paths for the pedestrians demolished and multiple flyovers and under passes constructed. Moreover luxurious mega projects in the city, when the country is already on the verge of bankruptcy and dependent on the foreign loans and remittances, have been started. Therefor under such disappointing conditions, an unimpressive uniform wearing police has failed to control the traffic and its violations. Moreover the environmental pollutions of the city from dust, gas and noise has crossed dangerous level as a consequent of which every other citizen of Lahore is suffering from dust allergy, respiratory eyes and ear illness. In addition the heavy city traffic, long traffic jams and injurious pollution have also affected the public behavior and temperament.
Had our rulers been free from political pollution, city LDA high ups honest and the environmental concerned authorities been duty bound, anticipated and taken notice of today’s hazards of the city, they should have planned and developed a new city “New Lahore”. The ruling Government of that time by giving attractive concessions to people who had spent their black money for the construction of un planned, illegal plazas and commercial centres over residential areas, could have been diverted and utilized for developing a new city. How much grave hazards of city of Lahore would be in future, can be predicted today. As a result of prolonged absence of local bodies elections due to poor governance, negligence and involved self-interests of public paid representatives in the assemblies, the people of a part of Lahore the capital, are helplessly drinking polluted water visible to the naked eyes as was shown live on TV channel. Similarly many other hidden hazards are being added in the city. May Almighty God save Lahore city and its residents from the rapidly growing hazards. Inshalllah.