The civic agencies of the provincial capital strived to take advantage of the lockdown imposed during the past week to complete their pending development work in the city amid the low traffic flow and business shutdown without causing inconvenience to the citizens.
The Lahore Development Authority (LDA), Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA), Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA), Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) and Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) geared up to complete their projects as soon as the lockdown was imposed to check the spread of coronavirus during the Eidul Fitr holidays. According to sources, the aim of the authorities was to fill the gaps in the beautification and cleanliness operations in the city by the routine activities resume after the Eid.
However, as the traffic in the city decreased by more than 70 per cent and public transport services were restricted, several of the departments also faced difficulties in mobilising their resources for their operations, the sources added.
The heads of various departments coordinated their preparations to fulfill their responsibilities and assign duties during the over a week-long lockdown imposed in Lahore in view of the pandemic.
The biggest beneficiary of the lockdown was the waste management company. Most people went to their hometowns during the long holidays and transport from other districts to the provincial capital was also banned. The accumulation of garbage in the city slowed down as less waste was produced due to the lower number of residents in the city and reduced social and economic activities.
It is estimated that less than half the normal daily garbage was produced in Lahore during the lockdown. This helped the LWMC clear the backlog of waste collection and disposal in addition to fulfilling the daily requirements.
The LDA also began work on lifting mounds of debris that had been lying in the areas under its jurisdiction.
Similarly, the LDA’s subsidiary WASA, which has been tasked with cleaning drains under roads and major sewage lines, which had been delayed due to heavy traffic flow, started the work after opening their lids on the deserted main roads of the city.
The work for desilting sewers spanning thousands of kilometres was also carried out on a priority basis within the stipulated period. WASA Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz said it was difficult to clean the drains under the highways due to the flow of traffic, so the work was being carried out during the lockdown.
“We will complete the desilting of the drains. Cleaning the drains will further improve the sewerage system so that we can complete our preparations in a better way before the start of the monsoon season.”
It was estimated that the city’s water use fell by more than 40 per cent during the lockdown.
Taking advantage of the lockdown, TEPA also started marking the sidewalks and zebra crossings on major roads in the city. The work was carried out on Jail Road, Mall Road and Gulberg Main Boulevard. The staff tried to complete fresh lane marking on the roads during the lockdown.
The PHA also launched a tree planting campaign to enhance the beauty of the city during the period.
At the same time, the task of repairing thousands of kilometres of green belts along the highways and roads, which had deteriorated in some places due to lack of proper maintenance, was assigned to the director of horticulture. Work was started for cutting grass and planting flowers and other plants on the green belts so that Lahore could present a more attractive look after the holidays.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2021.