LAHORE: Slow work on the Gulab Devi underpass is causing traffic jams on adjacent roads and these traffic jams are increasing pollution in the already smog-ridden city.
The underpass was under construction for the past few weeks as a result of which traffic on Ferozpur Road was diverted to Walton Road, Garden Town Road and other adjacent roads. This diversion slows down traffic on the already signalless corridor of the Ferozpur road.
A source from the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa) revealed that automobile pollution contributes more than 45% to current and constant smog. He said at a recent meeting that it had been proposed to ask LDA to stop all kinds of construction work on its three megaprojects.
It is relevant to mention here that Ferozpur Road was transformed into a no-signal corridor during Shehbaz Sharif’s government and at that time LDA claimed that this conversion will help reduce air pollution as the frequent traffic jams, which occurred at different signals on Ferozpur Road will not take place. Environmentalists have said that if the Gulab Devi underpass is so necessary, then why was it not planned at that time. They wondered what the planners would do when after a few years this unmarked road starts to witness traffic jams again. They said the LDA should prepare a comprehensive master plan for the city taking into account the annual increase in the number of vehicles. They asserted that LDA’s development vision was limited to future planning of around four to five years.
Mome Saleem, an environmentalist, told The News that in recent years Lahore has become a city of concrete and the majority of EIAs issued for megaprojects did not contain any mitigation plan to control pollution during the phase. of construction. She said the majority of Lahore’s farmland has been converted to roads or housing companies. This reduced the City’s food basket and instead of thinking about the gravity of the situation, town planners continued to introduce more projects on existing infrastructure. âThere is an urgent need for a public transport system. Our current road system is designed only for cars, âshe said, adding that the concept of converting an urban road into a signalless corridor has failed around the world.
Mome Saleem said the government of Punjab should establish a clear land use policy to stop the ongoing conversion of agricultural land into commercial, industrial or residential segments. Speaking specifically of Lahore, she said the city needs an efficient public transport system or a mass transit system, which is one of the most efficient ways to reduce air pollution. On the other hand, LDA’s DG Ahmed Aziz Tarar paid a surprise visit to the Gulab Devi underpass and noted the pace and quality of the work. Giving instructions for the early completion of the project, the CEO said the Gulab Devi underpass should be completed ahead of schedule. This mega project is very important for the flow of traffic on Ferozepur Road. Completion of this underpass will solve the traffic problems on Ferozepur Road. The officers concerned informed the CEO of the ongoing work and said the underpass would be completed as soon as possible. Contacted, the EPD secretary said so far that no notice had been sent to LDA to stop construction work on the three megaprojects.