Yatim Khana Chowk most hit: Businesses pay heavy price for Multan Road widening
LAHORE, Nov 3: Scores of shops and other buildings have been demolished at Yatim Khana intersection as the departments concerned acquired the land for launching the construction work on a 3.5km-long stretch from Scheme Mor to Chauburji for Multan Road improvement and widening project.
Though the departments have started paying compensation amounts to the owners of the acquired properties, the situation has been badly affecting since long the hundreds of shopkeepers doing business in the vicinity of the busy intersection.
“This intersection gives a deserted look after demolition of hundreds of structures, leaving many people jobless,” Arshad, a fruit vendor told Dawn. He said the demolition displaced many shopkeepers, forcing them to look for other areas where they could restart their businesses.
Farooq, an employee at a cloth shop which was demolished by the authorities, said the situation had not only left him and many others jobless, but also caused a huge financial loss to the shop owners as they had to shift their businesses to new places.
“Besides suffering huge financial loss, my employer also went through mental stress after his shop was razed. You can well imagine how difficult it would be for him to restart his business at a new place,” he added. He said the government should consider the seriousness of the issue and facilitate the affected shopkeepers in taking a new start.
A senior official of the National Logistic Cell, the firm engaged in the construction work under aegis of the Communication and Works Department, said the 3.5km road stretch had yet to be handed over to the NLC for initiating construction work there because the authorities concerned were presently busy demolishing the structures and paying compensation to the affected.
“According to the plan, we have to first get the work related to laying new drainage pipes in the middle of the road done through Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa). So soon after completion of the drainage work we will start road construction,” the official explained.
According to Project Director Sabir Khan Sadozai, the entire work right from acquiring land to demolishing structures had been done amicably. “We have paid considerable compensation to the affected people,” he claimed.
Mr Saddozai said Multan Road, especially Yatim Khana intersection, would have a new and modern look after completion of improvement and widening work. “This intersection will have six corridors — three with signals and the as many signal-free. The signal-free corridors will be for the motorists moving from Samanabad Morr to Thokar, Thokar to Band Road and Bund Road to Samanabad Morr. Whereas, the signaled corridors include the patches from Thokar to Samanabad Morr, Samanabad Morr to Bund Road and Thokar to Samanabad,” he explained.
He said previously there were proposals to either construct an underpass or a flyover at this (Yatim Khana) intersection. But, the departments finally reached a consensus that such a huge construction activity would require more land. “Therefore, the departments preferred to widen the road and the intersection, by constructing three signal-free corridors,” Mr Sadozai said.He hoped the entire construction work on the said road stretch would be complete by Jan 31, 2013, as per the deadline.