–Commuters face issues due to road blockades, poor traffic management
–Cricket fans satisfied with government’s arrangements for the T20 series
LAHORE: Despite government’s claims of effectively managing the traffic during T20 matches between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the citizens of the provincial capital faced serious issues on the second day due to blockades and diversions on all main roads leading to Gaddafi Stadium.
Forman Christian College University’s (FCCU) parking lot was used by the government for providing parking space to the spectators as it is the closest to the stadium. A shuttle service was also used to transport people from the parking lot to the stadium. However, amidst all this sense of facilitating people, the greatest sacrifice was given by those who use the Metro Bus for their daily commute, as the service had been suspended for security reasons.
A large number of policemen were deputed for security of the Sri Lankan team at The Mall as well, leading to the road being totally blocked from Davis Road to Governor House. This hampered all public and commercial activities in the area.
Ashfaq Qayyum, a resident of Gulberg, told this scribe that he had faced a lot of difficulty while commuting to his office at The Mall. “I faced the same issues on the day of the first T20 and I thought things would get better on the second and third days but the issues continue to persist,” he said, adding that compromising public’s lives for the sake of a cricket match seems “unreasonable”.
“I could not get to my office in time and was marked absent for the day. It was not even my fault,” he added.
Salim Bahadur, a resident of Ichra, said, “I could not send my children to school because the roads were blocked and the traffic was congested in other areas. I fail to understand why the city is locked down for a cricket match.”
“They should move cricket activities away from the city if they are so concerned about cricket,” he added.
While some criticised the government for making the lives of the people miserable, there were those who were willing to pay the price.
Asma Sohail, a cricket fan who was walking towards Gaddafi Stadium, said, “I do not mind if the roads are blocked because our favourite sport has returned to the city. Instead of criticising the administration, people should appreciate the efforts of the government.”
“I parked my car at FCCU parking and used the shuttle service to get here. The service was smooth and I am happy with the arrangements,” she said.
Muhammad Kaleem, another cricket enthusiast, said, “I live near Canal Road and parked my vehicle in the parking area designated at Punjab University. The arrangements are quite good and I am happy that cricket has returned to the city. I hope the government will soon revive other festivals such as Basant.”
PARKING AND SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS:
The designated parking sites for the T20 matches were located at FCCU’s parking lot, Liberty Market’s parking lot, Punjab University’s hostel parking space, Jam-e-Shireen Park’s parking, LDA Parking Plaza and Sunfort Hotel’s parking space. Free shuttle service from parking spaces to the stadium was also being provided to the spectators.
Moreover, as per the traffic plan, the Canal Road remained open for all kinds of traffic and the commuters from Firdous Market were able to move towards Hussain Chowk, M M Alam Road, Mini Market towards Main Boulevard and Siddique Trade Centre while commuters were able to move towards Firdous Market via Kalma Chowk and Barkat Market via Centre Point.
Furthermore, as per the traffic plan, the commuters from Fawara Chowk near Siddique Trade Centre were able to move towards Jail Road from Quratba Chowk and Ferozpur Road via Wahdat Road while Walton Road was used for moving towards Cantt and Mughalpura from Kahna and Kot Lakhpat.
Lahore DIG Operations Ashfaq Khan inspected the security arrangements at the stadium and checked the security at entry gates of the stadium. Speaking to Pakistan Today, “We are coordinating with all government departments for the management of security for the matches. We are also monitoring the movement of the teams through the Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) cameras.”
Nearly 3 SPs, 11 DSPs, 700 inspectors and more than 13,000 policemen had been deputed for security purposes.
With additional reporting by Fida Hussnain