THE Lahore Bachao Tehrik (LBT) formed several committees to protect the environment and nature along the Lahore Canal, which is going to be disturbed by the re-launching of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) project of widening/remodelling of the Canal Bank Road recently.

In an emergency meeting called by the Lahore Bachao Tehrik at a local art gallery the other day, it was decided that the project would be opposed at every level. The meeting was attended by several members of LBT, who strongly opposed the project and declared it hazardous for the city and its population.

The members agreed on highlighting the issue at every level and decided to launch serious awareness campaigns involving different segments of society such as students, civil society, media, government departments and masses regarding the issue.

Eram Aftab, a renowned environmentalist, said that the LBT has also decided to file a new petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) seeking immediate relief.

She said the members would also meet Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and would give him a presentation regarding the impact of the project on the environment, city and population. She said LBT has constituted different committees to meet this challenge.

She said that a student committee would also be set up to gather the support of student community besides giving them awareness about the project and its overall impact. This committee, she said, would mobilise the students.

Kamil Khan Mumtaz, a famous architect, while addressing the meeting pointed out that Lahore would lose another symbol of its heritage if the LDA continued to complete this project. He said LBT opposed the project two years back after which it was stopped. He claimed that money spent on widening of this road would benefit only the automobile elite of the city and will not provide the congested areas of north Lahore with any relief. He further claimed that it was the same project, which was launched some two years back and no change had been made to the plan.

He claimed that almost 4,000 shadowing trees would be removed in this project rather than 1,440 fully grown trees according to government survey. He added that this massive removal of trees would result in environmental and social impact on the populace of Lahore.

Faryal Gohar said that hundreds of people including women, children and men used to sit under the shadows of trees along the canal but after widening of this road they would not have these shadows available.

The members of LBT also discussed an alternative and sustainable vision of Lahore, focusing on public transport as a means of relieving traffic congestion. They urged the government to stop the project immediately because it would result in serious environmental hazards.

Source: The News