LAHORE: The inauguration of the Greater Iqbal Park project has once again been delayed owing to late completion of civil works, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Lahore Division Commissioner Abdullah Khan Sumbal had announced last week that some parts of the park would be open to the public on Independence Day. He had directed the Parks and Horticulture Authority [PHA] and the contractors working on the project to expedite development work to complete the project before August 14.
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PHA Director General Mian Shakeel Ahmad told The Express Tribune that contractors had just completed civil works. “They are removing the debris from the site. The authority has already deployed its teams to start leveling and landscaping. But the site is not clear yet,” he said.
“As soon as the contractors remove debris from the site, the PHA will start horticulture work. They had been given nine months for the completion of civil works. The PHA requires some time for plantation and horticulture work. The current monsoon spell is also a reason for delay,” he said.
He said the Greater Iqbal Park project was mainly a horticulture project that included renovation and preservation of the Minar-i-Pakistan grounds. “The Iqbal Park has also been expanded by including more space from Circular Gardens and carriageway between Minar-i-Pakistan and Lahore Fort. It will have a thematic food court, depicting culture and heritage of the four provinces and the Gilgit-Baltistan territory. It will also have elaborate walkways and art gardens,” he said. Ahmad said the PHA would install lighting and fountains in the park.
It will have a state-of-the-art surveillance system that will enable the authorities to monitor the park. In architectural perspective; the design for the Greater Iqbal Park Lahore originated from the idea of enhancing the area for creating a welcoming environment within the densely populated Walled City. The layout is based on the symbols of the star and the crescent. The park makes use of formal elements of Mughal landscape such as fountains, pavements, baradari [a pavilion with 12 openings] and geometric patterns.
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The project was visualised in fiscal year 2013-14. However, work could not be started due non-availability of funds. The PHA DG said that the authority planned to display fireworks at five places: including Minar-i-Pakistan, Racecourse Park, Gulshan Iqbal Parks, Johar Town Park [Mian Plaza] and Gaddafi Stadium on August 14. “The authority is also building floats for the Independence Day parade,” he said. Ahmad said the PHA planned to establish stalls at public parks for selling flags, badges, buntings and other Independence Day-related merchandise. “The City District Government of Lahore [CDGL] and some provincial government departments are also planning various activities in the city on Independence Day. The PHA will also participate in these activities,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2016.
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