With city roads dug up for development, Lahore looks like post-World War II Europe.
Indian visitors to Lahore wax eloquent about all that the city has in common with Delhi. And, vice versa. Indeed, the older quarters of the two cities, developed by the Mughals, bear a striking resemblance to each other. And, now, by the looks of it, Lahore’s latest addition to its infrastructure — the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) — is going through the same trajectory of difficulties that Delhi’s BRTS faced.
Land acquisition, dug-up roads leading to traffic snarls and changing the face of the city roads to the extent that it becomes unrecognisable to its residents, affordability, and, of course, the usual doubts about procedures and financial problems are some of the issues being flagged in the discourse.
What has made the BRTS development particularly problematic for Lahore’s residents is that the provincial government — in a rush to have it running before the 2013 elections — has dug up the entire 27 km stretch in one go; making the city, in the words of one conservationist, look like post-World War II Europe.
Though modeled along the lines of the BRTS in Istanbul, the advocates and nay-sayers also refer to the one in Ahmedabad, an example that is closer home, complete with all the issues central to any infrastructural project in South Asia. And there could be more complaints once it is operational, especially since Lahore’s drivers are no different from Delhi’s. Given that lane-driving does not come easily to South Asians, the discipline that BRTS demands is bound to come with its share of grumbling.
Keywords: Lahore BRTS development