The city government lacks space to store tents worth millions of rupees, bought by the Town Municipal Administrations (TMA) of Lahore for Ramazan and Sunday Bazaars. The TMA after deciding to use the same tents for other official activities the year round is facing problems in arranging a warehouse to store them.
All TMAs of Lahore, except the Aziz Bhatti Town administration, bought these tents before Ramazan. Previously, they had been renting tents at a cost of millions of rupees.
TMA officials said that buying these tents including canopies, chairs and tables will eventually save a lot of government money. They said these tents were water proof and could be used for three years, though many leaked during the latest monsoon spells.
Muhammad Arif, the Allama Iqbal Town municipal officer, told The Express Tribune that renting a warehouse cost Rs40,000 per month. He said that warehouses belonging to the town administration did not have space as they were full of scrap and items picked up during the anti-encroachment drive.
He said that the tents were purchased for Rs0.4 million. “We have purchased special parachute bags along with the warehouse to protect these tents,” he said.
The tents will also be used for other events including Eidul Azha cattle markets.
He said that last year the town administration spent more than Rs5 million on rent for tents. “We are now satisfied as the tents are our property. We can use them whenever we need them,” he said.
He said their tents were waterproof and had not leaked in the rains.
The Aziz Bhatti Town administration, however, chose to install steel shades in the areas where Ramazan Bazaars and Sunday Bazaars have been set up.
Town Officer (regulation) Shahzad Qureshi said the shades were installed at a cost of around Rs2.5 million. He said that tents wore out easily in bad weather and during the fixing and unfixing process. “We don’t have to worry about the steel shades now,” he said.
The Data Gunj Bakhsh Town administration claims to have bought the most expensive tents. According to an official, the tents cost Rs9 million. The cheapest, were, bought by the Wagha Town administration at Rs1.4 million. Both town administrations have yet to arrange for a warehouse to store these tents.
Tariq Zaman, principal staff officer to the Lahore district coordination officer, told The Tribune that the TMAs paid millions of rupees to purchase these tents.
He said now it was their responsibility to keep these tents at a safe place.
Zaman said that all tents that leaked would be retuned to the merchants or their price would be negotiated. He said the merchants had been paid the security deposit only and full payments had yet to be made. Payments, he said, could be stopped if the tents were not replaced.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2011.