Saturday, April 4, 2009

North Nazimabad residents fast losing their parks

KARACHI: The Shehri-CBE, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has approached higher authorities, expressing its concern about the encroachment of certain parks within the precincts of North Nazimabad Town.

The Shehri-CBE has sent letters to selective heads of authorities, containing complaints of the citizens residing in the vicinity of the encroached parks. The Shehri-CBE has also dispatched a reminder on March 28, titled ‘Brazen Encroachments on Parks/Amenity Spaces in North Nazimabad’, which contains the names and locations of the encroached parks. The parks include Plot ST-5/2/E (Park, 2.03 acres), ST-5/4/E (Playground, 2 acres), ST-5/1/E, (Hazoori Bagh, 1.35 acres), Plot ST-4/D, (Bagh-e-Afroz, 3.5 acres), Plot ST-1/I, (Bagh-e-Dilkusha, 2.75 acres), Plot ST-9/A, Block-A, (Bagh-e-Babar) and Plot ST-5/K (Taj Mahal Bagh, 6 acres)

In the reminder, the Shehri-CBE questioned the silence of the authorities over the previous letter and reminded them of their responsibility to uphold the law and safeguard public interests.

According to the NGO, the laws being blatantly violated include the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 (incl. Reg. 4), Sindh Local Government Ordinance, 2001 (incl. Regs. 67 – 70, Sixth Schedule), Sindh Building Control Ordinance, 1979 (incl. Section 6.1) and Karachi Building & Town Planning Regulations, 2002 (incl. Reg. 18-4.1)’.

The Shehri-CBE claimed that such amenity plots cannot be allotted for residential purposes, building plans cannot be approved and construction cannot be undertaken without approval.

The NGO has also attached comparative satellite images with the letters, dated 2004 and 2009, which expose illegal constructions on the above mentioned parks and playgrounds. Shehri-CBE has alleged that local union councils and town nazims are sponsoring this criminal activity.

In the letter dated February 11, which was sent to the Sindh Governor, Chief Minister, Local Government Minister, Environment Minister, Chief Secretary, Environment Secretary, City Nazim and KBCA Chief Controller, the Shehri-CBE wrote that construction and development on the above-mentioned plots was well underway and in some cases was close to completion. The amenity plots, which are huge public spaces, have been converted into private residencies with newly built houses and all the space has been sold to buyers illegally.

The letter said that these spaces were originally allotted for parks and are designed and located strategically for this purpose. The government should do something to stop the illegal projects immediately and restore the plots as parks and open spaces and take the developers involved to task since official plans of the city clearly identify all the above-mentioned spaces as amenity plots.

The Shehri-CBE had received a number of complaints by citizens of North Nazimabad Town. One such complaint from a citizen mentioned that there is a green belt area that formerly hosted a mini golf course near the Board of Secondary Education Karachi office and four public parks and play grounds on Shahra-e-Noor Jahan that have been converted into unnamed housing schemes. This massive manipulation cannot be done without high level backing, political or otherwise, the complainant added.

1 comment:

Kausar said...

I'm one of the affected resident of block J N Nazimabad where a colony is build in the Taj Mahal park and now due to the power theft by this locality we the legal kesc consumers r facing a lot of problem...these Kundas are there with the support of KESC as people are paying them for this theft....will any one plz look into the matter and help