No sign of Spring Festival


LAHORE – After Basant debacle despite high hopes, Punjab government is not likely to put on Jashan-e-Baharan 2011 festival, leaving spring-lovers high and dry. Mismanagement in engaging sponsors and security concerns are reported to be main reasons making the event as a non-starter.
An official from Parks and Horticultural Authority (PHA) told Pakistan Today that PHA DG Abdul Jabbar Shaheen’s lack of interest in the event was also another reason. He said Jabbar has been recently given the additional charge of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) DG and he has shifted his focus on LDA’s affairs. “Jabbar seldom comes to PHA office and he does not know how to gear up for the official work in this regard,” the official added.
SPONSORS’ RELUCTANCE: Another PHA official said that the chances to celebrate Jashan-e-Baharan were almost zero because the basic arrangements for the event had not started yet. He said, “It takes almost a month to embark upon the preparations that traditionally start after February 15 every year.”
He said PHA asked the sponsors for Jashan-e-Baharan and set the bidding date on February 2. However, none of the sponsors turned up to show their interest. This happened for the first time that sponsors remained alienated, he said. Revealing the reason behind the sponsors’ detachment, he said that PHA had never called multi-national companies for open bidding in the past.
PHA used to meet multinational companies, holding parleys, engaging them in talks and wooing them to sponsor the event. But this year, PHA DG advertised and sought open bidding, and as it was expected, not a single sponsor bothered to go into bidding and kept at distance.
SECURITY CONCERNS: PHA Monitoring and Operation Director Shahid Nadeem blamed the poor law and order situation for obstructing the festival’s celebration. He said the event also could not be marked in 2008 and 2009 owing to security concerns. During 2010, city was rocked more than five times by terrorist attacks and people had already suffered a blast at Urdu Bazaar in 2011. Hence, it seems that the security situation was not conducive for the Jashana-e-Baharan, he said.
GOVERNMENT’S PREROGATIVE: PHA spokesman Javaid Shahida said there was no activity in the PHA to organize Jashan-e-Baharan. “Though preparation time has passed but it is up to the government’s will to decide the fate of the Spring Festival,” he added.
A YEAR AGO: Jashan-e-Baharan 2010 started from March 1 and concluded on March 31 The festival attained international acclamation wherein a large number of visitors from across the world participated. The spirit behind this festivity was to provide entertainment and recreation to the general public during the spring. The event costed Rs 10 million that the sponsor namely Ad sells submitted to PHA.
The city was decorated with lights, flowers, steamers, cutouts, canal mela and number of schools-based national songs and mural paintings’ competitions while sports oriented and tree plantation competitions between nurseries were arranged.