Controversies fly over Kalma Chowk Flyover


The Kalma Chowk Interchange has become another controversial project for several urban planners, architects and environmentalists after the Canal Road widening project after it flouted laws and began the construction work, without any public hearing from the beginning. This means the hearing that was held on Friday should have been held much earlier, before the flyover’s construction had started and the trees that lined the road were cut down mercilessly.
Once again, civil society collected under the umbrella of the Lahore Bachao Tehreek (LBT) and protested strongly against the building of this flyover but to no avail.
In violation of Section 12 of the Environment Act, Rafay Alam explains that the government has violated the law by starting this flyover without the public consent. “According to this law, those associated can be given penalty under Section 17 of the same act,” he said. “Actually this flyover is only restricted for the automobile elite, so that they can travel on signal free corridors. But the rest of the citizens will end up suffering.” Alam’s logic has been re-applied here after he condemned the Canal Road widening project, saying that signal-free corridors only end up in resulting in bottle necking and more cars using that passage way. It was a misconception that cars would be dispersed.
Meanwhile, an Urban Unit Study (under the Government of Punjab Planning and Development Department) titled “An Integrated Study of Lahore Ferozepur Road Pilot Project” from 2007 to 2008 (components: traffic, public transport and institutional) was carried out. The study area was Ferozepur Road from Railway Crossing in the south to Qurtaba Chowk in the north, and the study outcomes were many. Those which have been implemented include: New Southbound Service Road along Ferozepur Road from the Canal (near 1122 HQ) to Kalma Chowk, New Northbound Service Road along Ferozepur Road from ICI Factory (along Linear Park) to Model Town junction – just short of Kalma Chowk.
Thus, this is increasing the flow of traffic into Kalma Chowk. The study also redesigned all the junctions, from Railway Crossing to Qurtaba Chowk (including Kalma Chowk), and proposed Integrated Traffic Signal (ITS) System (along Ferozepur Road and on adjacent roads). It also proposed bus lanes along Ferozepur Road and parking control. The study made no recommendations to have vertical segregation, i.e. flyover or underpass, at Kalma Chowk. It was also noted that 55,578 right turning vehicles (that is 13% of the total) from Model Town to Gulberg would end up having less number of lanes, due to the split flyover design columns and will occupy existing road space. NESPAK has not proved that these vehicles will not be worse off after the flyover has been rebuilt.
Besides this, the project is considered overly expensive. “If the Government had invested this money (Rs 2.68 billion) into public transport, the citizens would have definitely benefited,” says Imrana Tiwana, an urban planner. “What happens to all those vendors who have been banned from entry – how will they earn now? What happens to pedestrians? What happens to the trees that they have cut down?” Tiwana complains that the government promised to replace the cut down trees, but they still have not, even though the EPA promised that they had given one percent of the budget to buying trees which had already been given to the Pakistan Horticulture Association (PHA).
“The already late public hearing was only a pacifier,” says Tiwana. “This should have been done ages ago, but now what is the point of hearing our complaints?” Citizens at the hearing also said that their complaints about the rejection of the flyover should have been heard before the construction started, not after. Now, they said, nothing would be done about it, they were sure.


  1. An Extremely Biased Article.. If these tree huggers want to have a referendum then let there be a referendum… They'll find out that these 'Fashion Protesters' are in an absolute minority… I challenge them to protest at the site and collect more than a 1000 people… I'll join their cause..

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