LAHORE - The Punjab government has decided to set up another school at Bagh-i-Jinnah, The Nation has learnt, instead of improving the existing institution.

On the other hand, the garden lovers, regular visitors and enviornment activits have strongly rejected the government's step to establish a new institution in the garden in presence of the existing one in the public garden.

The proposal to establish “Quaid e Azam Institute of Horticulture and Landscape (QIHL)” was duly approved in principle during a meeting chaired by Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif the other day.

The Punjab Horticulture Authority DG told the meeting that main campus of the institution will be established in the Lawrence Garden while its sub campus will be established at Jallo Park.

The DG further apprised the participants that the residences of the Lawrence Garden superintendent and project director will be used for the purpose. "Further extension will also be carried out," the DG added.

It was also told that the affairs of QIHL will be run by a Board of Management headed by the CM Punjab.

As per the official documents, it was decided that world known design consultants from China or Singapore will be hired to make the project a state-of-art school.

The composition of the BOM will be shared with the government. As new staff will be hired, the consultant would workout qualification criteria for the seats newly created.

The horticulture school would be internationally accreted and will work uder the Agriculture department.

Some 100 million rupees have also been sanctioned for infrastructure and other purposes initially.

P&D chairman, PHA director general and vice-chairman, secretaries of agriculture, housing, finance, implementation and coordination and will ensure the progress on the project.

Garden goers and environmentalists say the running horticulture school in the garden could well be renovated instead of covering more lawns for it.

"It is another attack on the heaven for nature lovers," said Qadeer Siddiqi, a regualr visitor of Bagh for last forty years.

“The government functionaries want to snatch the beauty of garden by replacing green lawns and trees,” said another visitor, Sher Zaman.

A retired superintendent of the Bagh told that a mafia wants to grab vast lands of the garden at every cost. He said the PMLN leaders had pledged to covert acres wide Governor House Lahore into a University. “Instead of going by their words, the Punjab government functionaries want to make the garden lands a hell for visitors,” he alleged.

There is no such a marvelous place for walking and interacting with the nature as is the Lawrence garden, one of the top botanical gardens of the world.

The former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the Punjab government never focused on the existing horticulture school in the garden comprising many kanals adjacent to the China Chowk.

Talking roughly on government schemes that disrupted bagh's beauty, he said "27 acres were grabbed for zoo, eight kanals for CM office, many acres for GCU botanical garden and construction of roads around the gardens".

The 200 acres garden now hardly consists of only 140 acres. That also include the Quaid Azam library, Darrussalam library, GCU research labs, Ladies club, Cosmopolitan club, Gymkhana club, Tennis club, open air theater, garden's offices, floriculture and landscape school, commercial canteen, official residences have already claimed acres of green grassy plots.

He added that construction of buildings would eclipse natural beauty of the botanical garden.

Over 70000 people, including old, young, women and children, visit the garden daily and population is increasing rapidly. “The need is for more such gardens,” the ex-official added.

Suggesting that the QIHL could be established in Jallo park, he requested the Punjab government to shun such anti-nature schemes.