Defence Main Boulevard service lanes – Not Serviceable!


LAHORE – Main Boulevard Defence, a thoroughfare leading to the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), continues to irk people because of a dilapidated condition of its service lanes over the last four years. The situation worsened after the service lanes were dug up to lay a new drainage system and this project has been in the doldrums for more than six months now.
The service roads, stretching over more than 1.5 km with width between 25 feet and 30 feet, are splattered with heaps of sand, cement, and pipes. After the recent windstorms pounded the area, service lanes were covered with dust, causing visibility problems for the road users, also dirtying the shops.
Walton Cantonment Board had planned to lay down storm-water drainpipes on service lanes along Main Boulevard Defence (Khiyaban-e-Jinnah) by the end of February. However, the work progressed at a snail’s pace and missed the deadline, affecting the commuters and the traders running shops along the service lanes.
A Walton Cantonment Board official said that project of laying down drains, costing Rs 9 million, would be completed before the start of the rainy season. He said that rainwater would be driven to 40-foot wells to be dug on both sides of the service lanes. DHA Spokesman Tajamul Hussain said that DHA had nothing to do with Defence Main Boulevard.
“It has never been part of DHA and our domain begins from where the DHA entry gate starts,” he said.
SHOP OWNERS COMPLAIN: “It is not a war-zone badly hit by bombings rather these are the service roads along Defence Main Boulevard that have been devastated with potholes and ditches owing to delayed repairs. Recently, the excavation of long trenches, to lay down storm-water drain, has created a lot of mess,” said Zaid Haroon, a car showroom owner.
Gulzar Bhatti, a trader, said that DHA was to blame for keeping service roads ugly and broken. He feared that status quo would prevail as DHA wanted to boost the markets of Y and H blocks in a bid to flop the markets located on the both sides of the service lanes on Defence Main Boulevard. He said Defence Main Boulevard’s central road under DHA’s control was kept neat and clean, while the service roads falling into the jurisdiction of Walton Cantonment Board were in a state of neglect.
Shoaib Shah, a shopkeeper, said that a number of complaints had been submitted to the Walton Cantonment Board and Garrison Headquarters to address the problem, but to no avail. He said that around 600 businessmen running their shops on the service lanes were suffering. Anjuman-e-Tajran Main Boulevard Defence President Hakim Ali Bhatti said that the dilapidated condition of the service roads had inflicted irreparable damage on their businesses.
“People think over a hundred times before visiting here. The flow of customers is fast subsiding. If the situation does not improve, business downturn will reach 60 percent,” he said. “The service lanes present a look of a big swimming pool when rain lashes out the locality. Last year, when it rained, the road submerged under water,” he added.
SHOPPERS CRITICIZE: Farrukh Ahmed, who came to shop at a cloth house, said that he faced difficulty in making his way out of the service lane. “They look like car-trappers. I got my car stranded in a ditch despite a careful drive,” he added. Lubna Shahzad, a boutique customer, said that last Monday she visited the area with her 6-year-old child and while traveling on the service road, her child had a narrow escape from falling into a trench.
THE ROAD WILL BE MADE SERVICEABLE: MPA Mian Naseer said that after the completion of the project, the operation cleanup would get off the ground to remove encroachments to keep the service lanes serviceable. A five feet long fence will be erected on the maiden strip of the Main Boulevard Defence to stop people from crossing the road and an iron pedestrian bridge would be also be constructed.