Fauzia Qureshi, the former National College of Arts principal, criticised the design of the Orange Line Train project
“There is a need to revisit our idea of development. To conceive development as progress is not right,” Lahore Conservation Society president Kamil Khan Mumtaz said on Thursday.
He was speaking at a consultation meeting on Lahore’s Heritage and Ecology. The session, organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), took up the cases of several heritage sites, including Chauburji, Shalamar Gardens and the General Post Office (GPO), along the route of the Orange Line Metro Train. Khan said the consumption of oil and other natural resources was degrading the environment. “Our lifestyle is largely to be blamed for that,” he said.
Imrana Tiwana, an environmental activist said, “Lahore should have been on the list of world heritage sites a long time ago,” she said. She said the rapid urbanisation had caused irreversible damage to the city. She said the Antiquities Act, 1975, said that no work could be done within 200 feet of a heritage site. The rule, she said, had been violated during the construction of the train’s route near Chauburji.
She said the design of the signal-free corridor from Liberty Market to Qurtaba Chowk was also flawed. “We have discussed the matter with various experts. Design of the U-turns on the corridor is flawed,” she said. She claimed that the commuters using the corridor would have to travel an additional six kilometres.
Fauzia Qureshi, the former National College of Arts principal, criticised the design of the Orange Line Train project. “We have repeatedly asked them [the authorities] to provide us full design of the project but they don’t seem to have it,” she said.
Qureshi said the Metro Bus and the Metro Train projects were being built on the basis of a 10-year-old study. She said the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) was not qualified to carry out such works. “The organisation has no experience of building such projects… it was a mistake to task it with these projects.”
She said the method the authorities were using to dig and cover ditches had been abandoned by many countries in the 1920s. “Tunnel technology has been around for a long time… it is readily available,” she said. Qureshi also criticised the government for the cost to be incurred on the train project. Architect Nayyar Ali Dada, former NCA principal Salima Hashimi and artist Aijaz Anwar also spoke on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.