LAHORE: The city’s popular recreational spots are preparing to deal with a flood of visitors during the Eid holidays this weekend.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Iqbal Park Project Director Chaudhry Akhtar said that 25,000 people had visited the park during the three Eid holidays last year. “This year, the monument [Minar-i-Pakistan] itself will remain off limits to visitors due to security concerns. However, the grounds around the monument will be open,” he said.
Akhtar said that security had been enhanced around the monument. “Our staff will work in three eight-hour shifts during Eid holidays,” he said. He said they were overhauling the drainage system of the park as rains were expected during the Eid holidays.
Archaeology Department Deputy Director Afzal Khan said that the Lahore Fort was a popular tourist spot. “We saw almost 100,000 visitors over the three-day Eid holidays last year. The department will have its entire staff on duty on Eid day. We have also increased security,” he said.
The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has been focusing on making the fort more tourist-friendly. A new ticket has been printed and benches and greenery has been added to the fort.
The largest number of visitors to the Lahore Zoo come during Eid holidays. Shafqat Ali, the zoo director, said 300,000 people had visited the zoo during the last Eid holidays. “The number of visitors depends on the weather. According to Met Office forecasts, the second spell of monsoon rains is expected to start during the Eid holidays. If the weather remains cloudy, the number of visitors will increase,” he said.
Ali said they had carried out extensive renovations at the zoo over the past few weeks to prepare it for the Eid rush. “We have repaired the pavement and have added five more chillers to improve access to drinking water. We will also place special welcoming banners on the gates on the Eid day,” he said.
He said the entire staff would be on duty during Eid holidays. “We have reassigned duties and will have an additional 30 people from the Wildlife Department helping us manage things. We have also set up extra ticket stalls,” he says. He said that 25 people would be on security duty. “We will provide them wireless sets. We also have a central control room that monitors the footage from CCTV cameras,” he said.
“We have also requested help from the Police Department and the bomb disposal squad for security and from the traffic police to manage traffic close to the zoo. We will also have first aid staff and an ambulance to deal with any emergency,” he said. Ali said that if the weather stayed pleasant, the zoo administration would organise activities like face-painting for children and provide a jumping castle. “We also plan to create an area where children can be photographed with pet animals. These activities will depend on the weather,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2015.
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