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HC asks Div Coms to submit report on shrinking, stinking public spaces and parks

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Raps them for not acting seriously on directions issued previously

Srinagar: On the issue of shrinking and stinking public spaces and parks, the High Court on Tuesday directed the Divisional Commissioners of both provinces of Jammu and Kashmir to revisit the matter and submit a report after conducting meetings with all stakeholders.

According to the Chief Town Planner Kashmir, the Valley is already short of public spaces, green avenues and public parks. Most of these spaces are allegedly filled with filth and are not worth public use.

As per the standards prescribed by the town planners, 570.5 hectares of land in Srinagar is needed for parks and green spaces whereas currently it has only 242.63 hectares available for the purpose.

Hearing a public interest litigation on the matter, Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sindhu Sharma directed both the Divisional Commissioners to revisit the matter.

The judges directed the Commissioners “to submit their independent reports to the court within a period of two months from today after having a proper meeting with all the stakeholders”.

They further directed them to hold quarterly meetings of all the authorities responsible for developing and maintaining various parks including heritage gardens so as to coordinate their working.

The Divisional Commissioners were required last year to submit periodical reports with regard to the progress on holding quarterly meetings of all the authorities responsible for developing and maintaining various parks including heritage gardens.

In addition to it, certain directions were also issued, such as banning the use of plastic and constructions in the parks.

The court expressed its anguish that a status report has been filed by the Divisional Commissioner Jammu only on the matter while as the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has eschewed the issue.

The report of the Divisional Commissioner Jammu reflects that it is not a coordinated work undertaken by the officer. Certain parks have been left to the mercy of the Jammu Municipal Corporation, the court said after examining the report.

The J&K High Court has already prohibited use of plastic in all the parks and green spaces in Jammu and Kashmir. The court has also directed a complete prohibition of the illegal constructions in all the parks, open and green spaces.

The court had asked the authorities to undertake construction of sufficient washrooms and toilets at appropriate places to be earmarked by some experts in each of the park and to construct proper pathways wherever feasible.

An earlier response and the action taken report by the Director Floriculture claimed that there are about 361 parks and gardens in Srinagar.

Nearly 110 parks and eight gardens are maintained by his department, 51 by the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), 29 by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), 93 by the Jammu & Kashmir Housing Board, 24 by the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control and 47 by the PWD, the report claimed.


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