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CM orders early completion of Data Darbar project

By Our Correspondent
November 19, 2023
Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi. — APP/File
Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi. — APP/File

LAHORE : Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi visited the shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hajveri and laid wreath and flowers on Saturday. He directed early completion of the extension project of the Mazar.

Chief Minister made a special prayer for the integrity, stability, peace, progress, prosperity of the people and for the liberation of the oppressed Palestinians and Kashmiris. He conducted a detailed visit of the Mazar Complex and reviewed its progress after inspecting the extension project. Naqvi witnessed the extension work of the corridors of the Mazar.

CM was given a briefing about the upgradation project. Chief Minister also presided over a meeting held at the Hajveri Hall in which progress on the upgradation project of 9 Mazars of the saints in Punjab was reviewed. It was agreed on the proposal to establish a Tourist Trail for the devotees of Uch Sharif. It was agreed to declare "Tourist Trail" on the routes of the Mazars of Hazrat Jalaludin Bukhari and other Auliyas in Uch Sharif along with undertaking construction, repair and upgradation work of the Mazars of Uch Sharif and the sacred buildings. The proposal for the upgradation of the Mazars of Baba Bulleh Shah, Hazrat Musa Pak, Baba Fareed, Shah Shams Tabrez and other Mazars was reviewed during the meeting.

Chief Minister directed to submit a report after retrieving the areas of land surrounding the Data Darbar Mazar adding that extension of the basement and Qawwali Hall should also be done after relocating offices located in the Mazar Complex. He issued directions to continue maintaining arrangements for 24 hours langar khana in the Data Darbar along with maintaining the original condition of the Hujra. Chief Minister directed to keep the areas neat and clean surrounding the Data Darbar along with beautifying them. The capacity of pilgrims in the corridors (Ghulam Gardish) of the Mazar will increase from three thousand to five thousand with the cooperation of Madina Foundation. Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Saturday visited Lahore Zoo and laid the foundation stone of its upgradation project.

The CM reviewed construction activities under the upgradation project. Lahore Zoo will be upgraded under the magnificent plan to provide quality entertainment facilities to children.

CM said that 100 new animals would be brought to the Lahore Zoo. An e-ticketing system would be introduced and a hologram zoo would also be established.

He directed to introduce family package, summer package and other packages in Lahore Zoo after its upgradation.

Naqvi said that panda, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, African pigeon, black jaguar, puma, Chaltan, Markhor and other animals and birds would also be increased in the zoo.

New species of dragons and snakes would be brought in the zoo. He said that 142 types of marine life would be kept in the aquarium in Lahore Zoo.

Lahore Zoo would be upgraded and modern cages would be built according to international standards and other facilities would be increased.

CM inspected the Lion House, Monkey House, Zarafa House and other animal cages. He was briefed about the new Reptile House in the zoo. Zoo Hologram would create the impression of real presence of animals.

Mohsin Naqvi inspected the Waterfall Lake and inspected the cages of white tiger, lion and of other tigers. He directed to take better care of lions and other animals, to provide them best treatment and best veterinary doctors should be arranged for the treatment of sick animals in the zoo, adding that a wide area of land should be allocated to keep the lions.

He directed immediate release of funds for the zoo upgradation project and apprised that better unique and rare animals would be brought to the Lahore Zoo than before. Lahore Zoo footpaths should be improved and made uniform. He directed to install best fountains in the zoo.

Talking to the media, he said that the zoo was a favorite place of children but it had been neglected for 20 years. As soon as one enters the Lahore Zoo, he can see the dirt, smell and the pathetic condition but the children still come. Lahore Zoo was notorious for dirt and bad smell. Every sector has work to do but children’s entertainment was always neglected.

CM informed that Lahore Zoo and the Safari Park would be upgraded in consultation with the provincial ministers, secretaries and institutions concerned.

The renovation and restoration project of Lahore Zoo had been launched today which would be completed by the end of January, he added.

There was a good news for the children that 100 kinds of new animals were being brought which they have never seen before. He said that four elephants, tigers and different birds were also being brought to the safari zoo.

"We are in constant contact with the Chinese authorities to bring Panda to the Lahore Zoo. The services of an international consultant would be hired for the animal welfare”, he added.

Zoo upgradation design was of an international standard, he informed. He said that Punjab government was focusing to upgrade Jallo Park and Changa Manga Park.

The zoo was closed for upgradation but when the children arrive in January, the environment of the zoo would be different and there would be new animals.

The zoo upgradation was being done on the lines of the Singapore Safari Zoo. "We are shifting the Lahore Zoo to 100 percent e-ticketing and e-ticketing will be cheaper. He said that relevant international institutions and WWF were taking on board so that international standards were not compromised”.

The elephants would be kept in an open place and Markhor would be brought. Bringing panda was a difficult task but the effort was underway.

Whenever there was a meeting held with the Chinese Consul General, discussion for acquisition of panda was always take place.

There was inflation due to having only one canteen in the Lahore Zoo but now 8 to 10 canteens were being built and commodities would be cheaper.

Provincial ministers Amir Mir, Azfar Ali Nasir, Bilal Afzal, secretaries of Forests, Wildlife and Fisheries, Communication & Works, Livestock, DG Wildlife and officials concerned were present.

Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Saturday pledged to make both Lahore and Safari zoos child-friendly facilities. Both zoos are being renovated and will have new animals including elephants.

Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi said that the zoos were being renovated as their condition had become very bad, adding the Lahore zoo had become very smelly.

It is good news for children that 100 new species of animals are being housed at Lahore Zoo, the CM said, adding that four elephants were coming to Safari Zoo. "It will be a surprise for the kids that there will be new animals in the zoo," he said.

He said that he had written a letter to the Chinese government for getting pandas for Lahore Zoo. He said he was was in touch with the Chinese Consul General for it. "There will be big food courts in the zoo. We will preferably focus on animal welfare which would be according to international standards by not keeping animals in cages. We also decided to renovate the famous Jinnah Garden," he said, adding that though the zoo was closed, but children would be very happy when it opened.

To a query regarding elephants survival, the CM said that there was a ban on keeping elephants in cages, and obviously, NGOs and international forums of animals would object if elephants were kept in such a condition. "That’s why we have decided to keep elephants in Safari zoo," he said.

The chief minister said that elephants would be housed according to international standards in Safari zoo and some of them would also be kept in Lahore zoo for children. A friendly zoo is being under renovation that will be completed in January.

Meanwhile, Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi paid a two hours detailed visit to the Lahore Ring Road Southern Loop 3 project early morning here on Saturday. He directed to complete the project by January under any circumstance.

Provincial ministers Amir Mir, Azfar Ali Nasir, Bilal Afzal, Ibrahim Hassan Murad and Provincial Adviser Wahab Riaz accompanied him.

Mohsin Naqvi reviewed progress being made on the project from Maraka up to Bahria Town and inspected ongoing work on the under construction three bridges at various sites of the project. CM also monitored earthwork and stone laying work process.

He directed to complete the Maraka Interchange construction work as soon as possible, saying that construction work of a service lane adjoining the Ring Road should also be completed within stipulated period of time.

CM directed the Chairman Lahore Ring Road Authority to visit the project daily, saying that the pace of work should be accelerated by deploying additional workforce.

An advance planning for the construction work should be made in view of fog hazards in the coming days so that no delay should occur at any level. CM was briefed about progress being made on the earthwork and subways.

He presided over a meeting at the FWO Camp Office and was given comprehensive briefing about work being completed of the project and timeline.

He was apprised that on the whole 42 percent work on the project has been completed. 53 percent work of under construction six bridges and 63 percent work of subways has been completed. Soil was being laid with 2,600 dumpers and soon its number would be increased up to 3,200 dumpers.

Secretary Communication & Works, Chairman Lahore Ring Road Authority, Deputy Commissioner and FWO officials were present.