Basant likely to be celebrated on April 13-14 at Lahore
The Punjab government is likely to announce Basant on April 13-14 after the approval of the caretaker chief minister while a summary has already been submitted in this regard to the chief secretary’s office. Sources told The News on Monday that a meeting of founder of kite flying festival in Punjab, Khawaja Nadeem Saeed Wayeen, was held with Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) Director General Kamran Lashari in which April 13-14 date was suggested by the former.
The sources said three high level meetings were already held to make a decision on the Basant celebration in which top hierarchy of the province, including police high ups, district management and bureaucracy, had given its input. The discussion included aspects of security of bikers who were always the victims of strings of stray kites and which was the main reason for the ban on kite flying. The sources further said that the summary put up by Kamran Lashari had also suggested April 13-14 for two days Basant celebration. Now it is expected that final decision would be made in a couple of days as the caretaker CM had already given positive remarks about the event. They said three meetings on Basant were result of the go-ahead given by Najam Sethi to come up with the possible means for holding the successful event without losing any human life.
It is under discussion that to avoid bikers’ causalities from stray kite strings, free wire antennas would be installed at the bikes at four to six different points of the City. These points could be increased by establishing at least two points in each town. A massive awareness campaign is also being planned for the bikers for their safety. The police have been asked to give their suggestions on how to control aerial firing and other law and order linked issues while there is also a suggestion to challan the bikers who would not install wire antennas. The suggestion of banning motorbike riding for two days of Basant was rejected with the objection that it would create problems for commuters. For antenna cost, it has been suggested that the sponsors of the event would be asked to supply them to the district government which would install them on the bikes in the City at the given points. The cost of an antenna is estimated around Rs30 to 40. It is important here to mention that WCLA DG Kamran Lashari had made Basant an international event back in year 2000 when he was director general Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA). Later, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had imposed ban on kite flying in the country in Musharraf era, following the deaths of a number of people due to strings used in kite flying.
Meanwhile, Vice-President of All Pakistan Paper Merchants Association (APPMA) and founder of kite flying festival Khawaja Nadeem Saeed Wayeen welcomed the caretaker CM’s decision to lift the ban on kite flying in Punjab and said that it would go a long way in highlighting the soft image of the country. In a statement issued on Monday, he stated that the decision would also help cut rate of unemployment in the province as thousands of people were directly or indirectly attached with kite making industry. He suggested to the caretaker Punjab to establish special kite flying zones out of the city so that people could take part in this festivity whole of the year. It would not only strengthen the cottage industry but would help earn much-needed foreign exchange through tourism industry as prior to the ban, a large number of foreigners were used to visit the country to take part in the kite flying festival. He said the caretaker CM had won the hearts of the Lahorites.