KARACHI: Almost two months after its completion, Jahangir Park was inaugurated by Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday.
Gifted to the people of Saddar in 1883 by a Zoroastrian philanthropist, Behramji Jehangirji Raj Kotwala, the park served as a recreational and political space for years before it deteriorated due to neglect.
While presiding over a meeting at the Sindh Secretariat last August, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah announced his intention to restore Jahangir Park to its former glory, otherwise it would turned into a parking site and dumping ground.
He concluded the meeting and then, accompanied by his then principal secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch, Planning and Development Chairperson Mohammad Waseem and Karachi Package Project Director Niaz Soomro, visited the park and vowed to restore it.
He directed the South deputy commissioner, who was also present, to remove the encroachments from the park so that restoration work could be started as soon as possible.
Shah directed Waseem and Soomro to prepare the park’s PC-1 and get it approved it by him. Subsequently, the chief minister approved the Rs200 million scheme.
Jahangir Park restored to its former glory
Work on the project started and was completed less than a year after it commenced.
The park is spread over five acres of land, with an amphitheatre, aviary, dinosaur park and library. It also features two reverse osmosis (RO) plants, each capable of producing 50 million gallons of water a day.
One RO plant is for drinking water purposes and is to be utilised by visitors. Residents of nearby localities also have the facility to take water to their homes. The other plant will provide water to maintain the lawn, trees, plants and flowers planted in the park.
The park also features its own security system under which closed-circuit television cameras have been installed, along with a command and control centre. These cameras would also cover the vicinity around the park.
The park was officially opened for the public on Sunday evening. Entry will be free for the first two weeks, after which the park administration will impose a nominal charge on visitors.
The Sindh government will maintain the park for the next through years via the scheme’s project director.
The chief minister said that with the inauguration of Jahangir Park the soul of the late Behramji Jehangirji Raj Kotwala must be pleased. "Now it is up to all of us to take care of the park and maintain its beauty and restored glory," he said.
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Shah said Saddar is the heart of Karachi and Jahangir Park is the heart of Saddar. "We have restored the palpitations of the heart and now, with the start of the restoration of old areas of the city, the whole of Saddar will be given a new look,” he vowed.
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