WCLA opens new avenues for tourism

Authority also discovered two tunnels at Lahore Fort


Our Correspondent January 01, 2019
Photo: Express

LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has completed several conservation projects and opened new tourism avenues in 2018. As per the list of completed projects in the outgoing year, the authority completed the conservation of Barood Khana (the British era arsenal depot inside Lahore Fort), Musaman Gate of Lahore Fort, Royal Kitchens in Lahore Fort, Western Suites, Royal Toilets on the left side of Akbari Gate, Western suites of the Jahangiri Quadrangle, cleaning of the backside of Jahangir's Quadrangle and repairs of Deewan-e-Aam.

The WCLA also discovered two tunnels inside the Lahore Fort while removing wild plantation and debris in the same year. The documentation of the Bhatti Gate trail, leading to Tibbi Police Station, was completed in 2018 and WCLA will be starting its restoration in 2019 after releasing the necessary budget. The documentation of the Mariam Zamani Mosque was also completed in 2018 in which the detailed structural analysis and fresco work was studied.

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The restoration of the southern side of Chowk Wazir Khan Mosque started in 2018, whereas the rehabilitation plan for the area of Chowk Kotwali to Dibbi Bazaar via Sonehri Masjid was also completed and would be implemented in 2019. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the Lahore Fort was illuminated in 2018 and the lit up areas included Huzoori Bagh, Badshahi Mosque, Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, Roshnai Gate, Alamgiri Gate, Musaman Gate, Temple of Loh, Royal Trail of Fort, Picture Wall, summer palace and Sheesh Mahal.

With the illumination of Lahore Fort and Huzoori Bagh, the WCLA, in 2018, launched night tourism for the first time in Pakistan.
Tourists were taken to all the illuminated areas inside the Lahore Fort and Huzoori Bagh at night and almost 4,700 attended the history by night tours.
Around 75,000 tourists visited the Royal Trail in 2018, whereas almost 4.5 million people visited the Lahore Fort. For the promotion of intangible culture, the WCLA launched storytelling sessions called 'Dastaan Goi' inside the Walled City and Royal Kitchen. Badar Khan narrated the stories of Lahore and its heroes. WCLA also started the Sufi Nights and the first one was 'Bulleh Shah at Royal Kitchen' which was designed to promote the message of peace and harmony
which the Sufi saint wrote in his poetry. During 2018, 'Meet the Expert' sessions on Royal Kitchens, Shahi Hammam and Barood Khana were conducted where over 700 students from leading universities across Pakistan attended the different sessions. For revival of wrestling or kushti, WCLA also started matches and guided tours inside the Walled City. The Building Control Wing of WCLA was able to conduct 25 operations against illegally constructed commercial plazas in different areas of the Walled City.

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It successfully conducted nine anti-encroachment operations to clear public passages in the Walled City. It also undertook an operation in Shah Alam to clear public passages/verandas. Last year, almost 795 buildings inside the Walled City were declared dangerous and these included old residential and newly constructed plazas.

The Building Control and encroachment team remained an integral part of antiencroachment operation in Lahore under the Clean and Green Punjab drive. Officials conducted operations in 16 different along with MCL and CDG. The Social Mobilisation Wing of WCLA held Azaadi programs on 23rd March and 14th August with the locals of the Walled City of Lahore.

The wing also launched a cleanliness awareness campaign inside the Walled City by engaging local students of schools. Awareness walks were also conducted in which students carried posters and chanted slogans ''Ho ga saaf Pakistan''. The Social Mobilization Wing also completed the resettlement survey of 320 shops of rim market. A cluster group was made in Lohari Gate and a transgender community based organization was formed at Taxali Gate. HIV AIDS vaccinations and tests were also provided for free for transgender persons.

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