Srinagar, July 06: Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Department Kashmir Iftikhar Kakroo Monday said that non-availability of funds and less manpower in the department is a reason for Jhelum View Parks crying for maintenance.
“I will tell you, there is a problem that we only get funds for new projects. There are no funds for maintenance of the Jhelum view parks on the banks of the Jhelum,” Kakroo told news agency Kashmir Indpeth News Service (KINS) while replying to a query.
The parks, constructed on either side of the river Jhelum from LD to Zero bridge was a part of a beautification project. It is in shambles which otherwise is meant for public amusement and recreation.
“In my opinion, construction of any project is easier than to maintain it. And we don’t have a flood of gardeners here (in the department to maintain these parks). Every year people retire with no replacement,” the CE said.
“It is casual, seasonal, daily rated workers and regular employees who work. Our area of work has increased but has less manpower. Our priority is other works than to maintain parks),” he said.
“If government can release us some money for its maintenance it would be good. There is money for new projects but not a single penny for maintenance of existing projects,” he added.
According to official data, Srinagar city has 169 parks covering about 287 hectares against a minimum standard of 570 hectares provided in the Urban and Regional Development Plans Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) guidelines, 2015.
On September 15, the J&K High Court asked the state’s Chief Secretary to take a call on the letter addressed by a former judge of the Court to it suggesting to enhance green space in Srinagar.
Former chief justice of Bihar, Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki in May 2016 had also written a letter to the chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir highlighting how the city lacks the green spaces.
In 2017, the High Court treated the letter as Public Interest Litigation.
Except for few, Srinagar has lost many historic gardens due to indifference and apathetic attitude of successive authorities. The lost gardens include Dewan Bagh, Baghi Ali Mardan, Baghi Dilawar Khan.(KINS)