Encroached parks, playgrounds

Parks, playgrounds and other open spaces act as lungs of cities

November 01, 2021

It is the public that has to be the foremost — rather sole — beneficiary of open spaces like parks, playgrounds, service lanes, parking lots, etc. In Karachi, unfortunately, open spaces are the land mafia’s mouth-watering favourite. At places in the metropolis, such spaces have been illegally occupied — fully or partially. So much so that pavements, nullahs and even graveyards have not been spared by land grabbers. Operating in connivance with corrupt government officials, these greedy land grabbers erect illegal structures on occupied land and then get them regularised. Encroachment of public spaces in Karachi thus continues with impunity. The citizens of Karachi are witness to high-rise buildings and shopping centres having come up in many such open spaces over the years.

It has, therefore, come as a welcome development that the Supreme Court has ordered the Administration of Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and other relevant authorities to restore parks, including the Gutter Baghicha Park, and playgrounds at the earliest. The top court has sought a report from the administrator in the encroachment case within a fortnight. It has also sought details of amenity plots all over Karachi, as it is an open secret that a large number of such plots have been converted into residential and commercial ventures. The court described a report earlier filed by the KMC as unsatisfactory.

Parks, playgrounds and other open spaces act as lungs of cities. Rather than being encroached upon, they need to be made clean and green so as to serve as spots for public comfort and convenience. The authorities concerned must ensure that illegally occupied spaces — reserved for public parks and playgrounds as well as other recreational activities — are restored in line with the court orders. The wrongdoers must also face the music.


Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2021.

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