‘Calm down, there can’t be a food street everywhere!’


Despite the enthusiastic inauguration of the Fort Road Food Street, four food streets proposed at different locations in the city are on a choppy course and there is a chance that the idea could be dropped.
Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif envisaged opening nine food streets, of which one was inaugurated last week. However, work on four of the remaining food streets was prohibited by Lahore Development Authority for one reason or the other.
Sources in LDA revealed that Town Municipal Administration Gulberg and DO (planning) had sought No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for the development of food streets at Model Town Extension (R-bloc), Moon Market (Gulshan Ravi), Moon Market ( Allama Iqbal Town) and Shahdara Town. However, LDA struck down the move by denying to handover its land to raise food streets, sources added. Sources said some days back, LDA Chairman Ahad Cheema had already rejected the proposal to build Food Street at Kareem Block and also refused to allocate space for four other food streets.
During the LDA governing body meeting recently held with Cheema in the chair, the issue was discussed in detail and finally it was decided that land would not be provided.
Senior LDA official told Pakistan Today that even before the approval of competent authority, some people started constructing the shops in the name of Food Street at Model Town Extension. In connivance with racket of traders, some officials of City District Government Lahore also built 20 shops at 30 feet wide road in hurry near Girls Higher Secondary School, he added.
Local residents, after registering the complaints at LDA, moved the court and got a restraining order. Meanwhile during LDA governing body meeting, LDA official objected to the construction of a food street at Model Town Extension, arguing that it would interrupt flow of traffic at the area.
LDA chief town planner also opposed the construction of Food Street in the Moon Market Park (Gulshan Ravi scheme Mor) that would cover the 50 feet wide road, adding that it could create problems for the locals. Moreover, he also said LDA could not provide land to CDGL for parking because of its proximity to a mosque and a petrol pump.
Traffic congestion was also cited as the reason for the turning down of another proposal of the development of Food Street on main road of Allama Iqbal Town near Moon Market. Alternative place was sought but it was again rejected on land transfer issue. CDGL also recommended a Food Street at the site of Bus Stop in Shahdara Town but LDA rejected it saying that the bus stop land could not be used for the development of food streets and other purposes. The proposal was rejected and the case is pending in LDA tribunal.
It may be recalled that once food street plan hit the snags when some months back LHC issued a restraining order against setting up a food street on a green belt in Shadbagh locality near Toka Wala Chowk.
CDGL officials marked Shadbagh to develop first Food Street on green belt. Local traders and people staged protest demonstration to save the green belt. Later, a petition was filed in the Lahore High Court challenging the plans to set up a food street after removing a green belt from the area.
Petitioner told the court that the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) had planned to convert a green belt in Shadbagh Scheme-II area into a food street. He said this was a violation of a superior court’s orders.
A senior PHA official told Pakistan Today that in exercise of the power conferred under Section-44 of Punjab Development of Cities Act, 1976 read with government notification No SO (P) 3-4-/ 98 dated 21 September 1998, PHA framed its regulation regarding upkeep of the green strips and could convert green belts for another purpose of public utility, if extremely needed.