ISLAMABAD: A Park is a place to unwind from the toils of life; it offers a recreational activity for families. Children can play around, adults can relieve stress through exercise, elders can enjoy while sitting in a healthy environment- but all of this is only possible when a park is well maintained and up-graded.
There are many parks throughout the capital, Rose and Jasmine Garden is one of the most renowned gardens in the country.
The park, which was once home to over 250 roses and dozens of Jasmines, is heavily encroached by shrubbery; which speaks volumes of the apathy on the part of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
Residents have the outlook that the park was a key attraction, whilst it was well maintained and clean, adding that it has lost its magnetism since the CDA shifted their interest towards parks situated in the supposedly posh sectors of the capital city.
The garden, located at Kashmir Highway in Sector G-6, is sprawling with insects, coupled with walking and jogging tracks which are broken.
Moreover, shrubbery has replaced the main ground and children playing areas of the park.
Furthermore, the road passing through the park is in a dilapidated condition and water often remains accumulated on the pathway on the bridge, which had been constructed over the drain passing from the middle of the park.
The only convenience store-cum-mini-restaurant is poorly maintained as well.
In addition to this: the out of order park lights, broken swings, treasure caves, climber play sets and see-saws all need revamping.
Flower and birds exhibitions were alluring features of the park, however, during the last few years, the park has only been able to get the civic body’s attention in the spring season when it organises flower exhibitions here.
Regular visitors of the park have vehemently demanded from the relevant authority to improve the ill-maintained condition of the recreational facility.
They also demanded the up-gradation and construction of the drain passing through the central point of the park, adding that the sickening smell of the drain causes a nuisance for visitors.
The garden’s nursery area has been transformed into shrubbery due to the growth of wild plants and bushes.
Adnan, an employee of the CDA Environment Wing, observed that the number of regular visitors of the park had decreased compared to the previous year.
The official entertains visitors via a mini-train which he drives in the garden.
He said that previously, he was used to selling over 200 tickets on a daily basis, but this number had drastically reduced to around 100 now.
Luqman, a visitor, said that citizens prefer visiting parks for relaxation, but unfortunately this park does not provide any utility to visitors anymore.
Naila, a housewife, says that in the past, she would bring her children to this park in the evenings, however, now she has refrained from visiting; due to the threat of dengue larva and mosquitoes, as water remains accumulated at different points in the park.
A worker at the park terms the security threat- is the main reason behind the thinning number of tourists.
The CDA Deputy Director Media Muhammad Saleem Akhtar told The Express Tribune that the park maintenance and up-gradation work would be started soon.
The CDA Environment Wing is waiting for the approval of the development budget for 2016-17, he further added.
Notwithstanding, Akhtar maintained that they are not short of staff and are waiting for the budget’s approval.
He added that the devolution of power after the recent local body elections is a contributing factor to the delay of maintenance and up-gradation work at various parks.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2016.