KARACHI: Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah said on Saturday that the provincial government has decided to engage the civil society, schools and other organisations in the rehabilitation of parks which have been cleared of encroachments in Karachi, through an ‘Adopt a Park’ programme. He said this while presiding over a meeting at the Sindh Secretariat.
Briefing the meeting, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani said that there are 1,578 parks in Karachi, of which 217 were encroached. Out of the encroached parks, illegal structures have been removed from 138 parks and 78 are yet to be cleared of encroachments, he added.
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Corroborating the figures stated by Commissioner Shallwani, Shah said that the provincial government cleared encroachments from 138 parks during anti-encroachment operations conducted in different areas of the metropolis, and warned that the encroachments are likely to reappear if parks are not rehabilitated and maintained properly.
“In order to sustain these parks, the provincial government has decided to engage the civil society in rehabilitation activities through a public-private partnership model,” he said. For this purpose, he proposed to launch an ‘Adopt a Park’ programme.
Participating in the programme “will instil a sense of ownership [of the park] among the public and will give the people an opportunity to serve the community,” said the chief secretary. Such models are also being implemented in other countries to facilitate the maintenance of parks, he added.
He compared the ‘Adopt a Park’ programme to the Sindh government’s ‘Adopt a School’ programme. The provincial government has been running the ‘Adopt a School’ programme, which lets private-sector organisations and individuals adopt and manage a public school, he said. Schools running on this model are monitored by the Sindh Education and Literacy Department and Sindh Education Foundation, which also provides technical assistance for running the facilities, he added.
According to Chief Secretary Shah, the ‘Adopt a Park, programme will function in the same way as the ‘Adopt a School’ programme, and the adopters will be provided technical assistance and expertise by the government departments, particularly Sindh Forest Department.
He further informed the participants of the meeting that no commercial activities will be carried out on the parks’ premises, no civil construction or fencing will be allowed in the parks and public will be provided complete and easy access to the recreational facilities, as ordered by the Supreme Court.
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During the meeting, the attendees also exchanged views and made recommendations regarding the proposed policy draft of the ‘Adopt a Park’ programme, following which, Shah constituted a committee, headed by Commissioner Shallwani, to formulate a policy draft for the programme. Besides Shallwani, the committee comprises Local Government Secretary Roshan Ali Sheikh, Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Saifur Rehman and representatives of different schools and organisations. Once prepared, the draft will be referred to the Sindh Cabinet for approval.
School Education Secretary Ahsan Ali Mangi, Private Institutions Director General Mansoob Hussain Siddiqui and parks director general also attended the meeting.
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