Food for thought street: Book Street to be on Thornton Road near GPO
* DCO hopes new project will promote reading
By Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) hopes to do for reading what it did for eating with its food streets when it opens Book Street on Thornton Road off The Mall in around three months.
“The food streets in Lahore have been very popular and I thought a book street will promote reading, which has become something of a lost habit,” says Khalid Sultan, the district coordination officer, who first came up with the idea.
He said a presentation on the project would soon be made at the Punjab chief secretary’s office. He stressed that Book Street would be a joint effort of the city government and PHA. He also thanked Jugnu Mohsin, managing editor of The Friday Times, for her interest and enterprise in making the project happen.
Asif Zaheer, the PHA project director, told Daily Times that Book Street would have a variety of books including rare books and research books. The street will be able to house 40 shops and will initially have some 2,000 books. The terms and conditions for letting out shops are being formulated. PHA has fully funded the project, to the tune of some Rs 10 million, he said.
Mr Zaheer said that a number of venues were suggested during meetings on the project, but Thornton Road was the perfect location because it has little traffic, is in a quiet area, and is centrally located quite close to some major schools. Thornton Road is opposite the General Post Office (GPO) on The Mall near the head office of Pakistan Telecommunications.
In meetings with book vendors, the PHA was able to convince them to sell their books at subsidised rates, he said. The street is also to have an Internet café and a tuck shop.
Book street has been designed by Sajjad Kasuar, a professor of architecture at the National College of Arts, Mr Zaheer said. The street will be paved with durable tiles and have wrought iron benches, specially designed wrought iron lights and reading stands and shelves. The street will be open only to pedestrians in the evenings.
“The buildings close to the street will be restored and lit up. We have asked WAPDA to remove electricity poles from the site and the DCO has asked traffic police to develop a parking lot for the street,” he added.
Various libraries have been asked to set up stalls on the street, Mr Zaheer said. He said the project would be completed in three months.