You might not want to look forward to the Canal Heritage Park | Pakistan Today

You might not want to look forward to the Canal Heritage Park

Despite a huge investment of Rs 1.5 billion and months of planning, fissures, ill-planning and suspicion has already started appearing in the Canal Road modification project that was declared to be a ‘public park’ by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The road widening project was combined with many add-ons, one of which was that the Canal Bank would be decorated and managed as a heritage park. In connection to the decision taken by the SC the Punjab government is busy in widening the Canal Road and also modifying the ambiance. Other than barriers being installed on the outer side of the footpath, benches and stylish street lamps are also being placed alongside the canal while basic facilities and public conveniences are being overlooked completely.
Currently five bridges for pedestrians are being constructed on major areas of the canal. The pedestrians will not be able to cross the road without going over the bridge.
The railings, according to sources, are being installed for the ‘protection of public from unforeseen mishaps’ on the road that is famous for its deadly accidents in which sometimes the cars run into trees and even the canal. However, installation of these railings also means that the only way to access the Canal Park is the overhead bridges.
The purpose of the railing is also to stop bike riders from using the footpath.
Ironically the railing/barrier being erected from the outer side of the canal would not serve either of the stated purposes. The railing is installed by nailing the metal barriers to the concrete footpath. Civil engineering experts believe that the railing being installed would not be strong enough to curtail high speed cars from speeding into the public sitting area during a road accident. Furthermore, people can easily cross over those barriers since they are only 4 feet high and have many spaces between them. The nature of the barriers is such that any person can jump over them and a child can pass in between the railings to cross over and then end up on the main road and be exposed to heavy oncoming traffic, spoiling the purpose of the barriers completely.
Last but certainly not the least, there is no place for people with physical disabilities to cross the road. People on wheelchairs would neither be able to cross the Canal Road nor approach the canal heritage park. No facilities of a ramp have been incorporated, exposing the weakness of the plan.
Interestingly no plan of the project has been made public. When Pakistan Today tried contacting concerned officials, a very secretive attitude was found in all of them, from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy. It seemed as if the Punjab government has given special orders to all concerned officials to not to discuss the project, its planning and expenditure. Highway North Communication and Works Chief Engineer Hafiz Masood refused to speak about the project saying that the Punjab govt has asked the C&W admin assistant director to be the spokesmen of the project. When the AD was approached he showed a dodgy attitude towards questions sent this scribe to another junior officer present at the C&W. The junior officer said he knew nothing about the project. The attitude was not different on the construction site. Concerned officers preferred to not to speak about the project, saying that nothing was final and that the plan was still being changed.



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