LAHORE: The provincial government has sanctioned Rs168 million in connection with strengthening security arrangements at major public parks across the city in the wake of March 27’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal carnage.
Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Director General (DG) Shakeel Ahmad told The Express Tribune that while security had already been increased across all major public parks now the PHA would install surveillance cameras, walkthrough gates and place barbed wire across 19 such sites since the funds were set to come through. He said the authority had already installed CCTV cameras across select public parks including Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, National Bank Park and Lawrence Gardens. The PHA will also post armed guards at major public parks. The funds will also be used to reinforce public parks’ outer walls, the PHA DG said.
He revealed that the PHA had been planning to develop a mega public park. He said the authority’s steering committee had looked into various proposals on this account the other day. Several sites, including a landfill site in Lakhodair area and some state-owned land originally allocated for graveyards were being considered as possible locations for the project, Ahmad said.
Earlier, he pointed out, that the government had allocated some land for graveyards across the provincial capital. Of this, Ahmad said, some plots had been leftover following the construction of the graveyards. He said the erstwhile site of a landfill in Lakhodair had been lying vacant following the shifting of the station to another locale. While the site (measuring dozens of acres) was suitable for a public park, Ahmad said, it would take some time to transform it into one as it was earlier being used to dump solid waste.
Responding to a query, the PHA DG said given the growing population the city needed a new major public park. He said a site for it would be identified soon and funds would be allocated in connection with the initiative.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.