Lifeguards, lifejackets, medical teams, swimming accessories and other facilities to be made available
* PHA DG says trees, resorts to be built near swimming sites
By Afnan KhanLAHORE: The citizens will soon get a chance to beat the heat and have fun as the Punjab government plans to convert the Lahore Canal into a picnic spot for swimming.
The City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has currently placed a ban on swimming in the Canal due to many incidents of drowning over the last few months.
Experts believe that the plan will have a positive impact on the lifestyle of the citizens who have been deprived of any such facility for a long time.
Under the proposed plan, the government will stop the flow of water for a few weeks to properly clean the basin of the Canal and design it to avoid any accidents.
Stairs would be built in the Canal at different points with boards set up on sides mentioning the Canal’s depth to prohibit children from swimming in some places.
Facilities: Moreover, proper lifeguards, lifejackets, medical teams, swimming accessories and other required facilities would also be made available at the swimming points. Proper food stalls and greenery in sitting places with proper maintenance will also be ensured to entertain visitors who do not know how to swim.
The government will provide facilities at par with international standards, keeping in mind the domestic cultural norms at the same time. The facility will be provided on selected points depending on the depth of the Canal.
Feasibility reports have been sought for setting up picnic points along the Canal from Jallo to Thokar Niaz Baig. The final report on the project will be presented to the chief minister this week for approval.
The CDGL has been working on establishing 10 picnic spots across the city to provide entertainment facilities to the citizens. Some of the spots will be set up close to the Canal in Jallo adding to the beauty and facility of the other swimming project.
Many families and young men throng the Canal on weekends, risking their lives and violating the law to have fun and counter the ongoing heat wave intensified by power outages across the country.
The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) will be spearheading the plan while other departments including Tourism, Communication and Works and Irrigation will execute the proposed development work later.
Trees and resorts: PHA Director General Dr Raheel Ahmad Siddiqui told Daily Times that the PHA would plant a large number of trees along the Canal and build resorts to make them look more beautiful. He said further details of the project would be announced after the CM’s approval.
He said for the first time in the country’s history a canal would be officially used as a swimming and picnic spot.
“We will develop a state-of-the-art facility for the public with a lot of trees, which will not only beautify the spots but improve the environmental condition of the historic city,” he said.