LAHORE: Following a Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict, the district administration has declared The Mall a ‘model road’’ and decided to impose a ban on spitting and littering on the historic artery of the city.
The district administration has also imposed a fine of Rs1,000 on violators from Tuesday (August 7) onwards.
In a bid to improve cleanliness of the provincial beautiful, Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi of the LHC, on Thursday, ordered action against those who spit or litter on Mall Road. He also directed the district administration to initiate civil works to restore the original grandeur of historic buildings starting next week. He said that there is a need to create awareness among the public about the significance of heritage.
The court also directed utility companies, including Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) and Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), to remove all untoward wiring from Mall Road.
After the LHC verdict, Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) Chairman Capt (retd) Anwarul Haq directed the company’s acting managing director to make a comprehensive plan, in consultation with all departments concerned, for the cleanliness of The Mall Road. He also directed the company’s officials to adopt effective measures and conduct special cleanliness awareness campaigns, install additional waste bins, ensure availability of workers and alert the enforcement team to impose fines on all those who are illegally disposing their waste or are involved in littering.
Haq appealed to citizens to dispose of waste properly in the bins rather than littering. He indicated that the company has already directed its enforcement wing to impose fines on violators from August 7.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Mayor Colonel (retd) Mubashir Javed said the Metropolitan Corporation Lahore (MCL) always tries to keep the entire city clean, especially model roads such as The Mall Road, Jail Road, Gulberg Main Boulevard, Canal Road and Ferozepur Road. However, he stresses it is the collective responsibility of all citizens.
“It is the second largest city of Pakistan. No city administration in the world can maintain cleanliness without its citizens’ cooperation,” he underlined.
Responding to a question, Javed said that the court had summoned him and sought a reply over the poor cleanliness and delayed restoration of historic buildings on Mall Road. “I told the court about all practical impediments, such as the fact that most historic buildings on Mall Road are in the private sector’s possession and have multiple owners. Several properties are under litigation and as per current laws the district administration is not empowered to spend public money for the beautification of private property.”
Since all historic buildings on the Mall Road fall under heritage, the court has directed the MCL to seek input from the Punjab chief secretary, he said. He added that he has also approached the Punjab chief secretary who has agreed to consider these expenditures as charged under heritage.
The district administration also sought cooperation from the trading community for the restoration of the historic beauty of the Mall Road, he said.
Javed further said that he has asked the court to give legal cover to actions of the district administration if it wants to maintain cleanliness and remove encroachments permanently. During former Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif’s tenure, he pointed out that the government had rolled out a ‘Dilkash Lahore’ project and restored the facades of all historic buildings. The government had ensured that all building signs should be of a uniform design to complement the historic architecture. But later, after completion of the project, the private sector again started making violations and installed ugly huge signs, he said.
However, now after the court’s direction, the district administration is once again ready to restore the original beauty of the historic Mall Road. The district administration had recently removed several illegal signboards of different shops and restaurants.
The Mall Road is one of the most historic arteries of the city and has several buildings from the colonial-era such as the Governor’s House, Punjab Assembly and Punjab Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2018.