The agitating residents of Block-B Sector-A and Block-A Gandhi Nagar housing colony have reiterated their demand for preservation of the iconic Gandhinagar Park and slammed the efforts of Citizen Forum to tacitly support the ill-conceived multi-story parking cum recreational complex on behalf of the Govt. and ERA.
In a statement on behalf of the residents, I C Jandial past Region Chairman Lions International and Dr. C M Seth reputed environmentalist & Chairman WWF have once again appealed to the Govt, ERA and ADB not to cause ‘death’ of this iconic park and said that the residents would take also available recourses including the legal intervention to prevent damage to the park.
They said the Govt appears to be more interested for the vested interests of the business community of Apsra Theatre road rather than the interests of the residents who are residing in the area for the last over five decades.
Reacting to the statement of Citizens Forum, the spokesman said that most of the signatories of the statement are residing in far off localities or areas like Pari Mahal Banquet Hall at Bye pass, Channi Himat, Trikuta Nagar etc. Others are living in distant blocks of Gandhinagar. None of the signatories is the real stakeholders in this iconic park. They appear to be seeking publicity by supporting ERA and the Ministers. The residents advised them not to meddle in their grave local issue and instead seek such types of complexes in their own areas, if they are really so fascinated by the concept.
Gandhinagar central Park is the second major Park of Jammu which is mired in huge public controversy for attempting to change its land use and conversion of green patch into commercial use. Earlier, Maharaja Harisingh Memorial Park in the city became a subject of controversy for auctioning it’s one part for a hotel.
The spokesmen regretted that the successive authorities with the active political patronage have already ruined the colony by getting the residential areas of the colony illegally converted in to commercial. Huge commercial complexes have been allowed to be constructed in gross violation of master plan and land use in the Colony especially on Apsra Theatre road which is almost becoming a ‘Kanak Mandi’ of Gandhinagar.
Instead of sealing these unauthorizedly constructed complexes as have been done in Srinagar on the directions of Hon’ble High Court, the authorities in complicity with these violators are toying with the idea of constructing multi-tier parking to promote their business being affected by choking traffic in the area. The spokesmen regretted that to benefit these violators, the ERA is causing unnatural death of a park, depriving the residents of their fundamental right of access to better environment.
The statement thanked the Urban Development minister for promptly shelving Commercial floors of the complex in response to residents’ concern and appealed him to not to go in even for huge multi-tier parking at Gole market at the cost of an iconic park as it is not required. It would create more problems than what it could solve.
A small market like Gole Market comprising hardly 40 shops does not need a multi-tier parking complex when already conceived and much needed multi-tier parking Complexes near City Chowk- Super Bazar and General Bus Stand are nowhere in sight despite being talked about for over a decade. Even on merit, Gole market does not need such a monstrous concrete complex to meet shoppers’ short-parking needs. There is no long time parking requirement in the area.
Two open spaces available, one of these in front of Pahalwan shop already being improperly used for parking, would be more than sufficient for the market if properly regulated and traffic enforced. The authorities are not able to handle maintenance of small scheme like sulab suchalya in Gole Market and maintenance of huge multi-tier complex can well be imagined. Instead, he is requested to focus of using available two spaces in the area for parking without causing death of the decades old park.
The statement said that the need of Apsra theatre shopkeepers should be met by shifting the proposed project designed for Central Park to the site of Dussehra ground. If ERA can go three to four levesl below at the green park, why can’t they do it at the Dussehra ground which is otherwise being frequently used for exhibition and public meetings etc. Moreover, there is no green patch at that place and as such no environmental issue involved.
The statement said that the residents are also proposing to approach the Hon’ble High court, not only to prevent ‘killing’ of the iconic park but also for sealing of Apsra Road commercial complexes raised in gross violation of master plan and land use of the colony on the lines of PIL filed in Srinagar Bench of Hon’ble High court.
Once these complexes are sealed, the problem of traffic on Apsra Road would automatically resolved, leaving no need for wasting money on construction of multi-tier parking complex at any place in the colony.