Save Gutter Baghicha Park

‘Gutter Baghicha will be saved from encroachment’
* Shehri launches signature campaign
By Jamil Khan | KARACHI

SINDH Minister for Katchi Abadis Rafiq Engineer has assured the people that the Gutter Baghicha issue will be resolved amicably through negotiations with the city government and a park will be established at the site.
He was addressing a seminar titled ‘Save Gutter Baghicha Park’, organised by the Shehri- Citizens for a Better Environment (CBE) on Friday. The seminar was conducted by Roland DeSouza, General Secretary Amber Alibhai and was attended by Saeed Ghani, opposition leader in the City Council, along with a large number of residents of the area surrounding the historical Gutter Baghicha.
The minister said that the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) is planning to acquire 200-acres of land in the historical area to develop a housing society for CDGK officers, although, there are many other vacant areas in the city. “We will request them to shift their KMC Officers Cooperative Housing Society to another location so that the remaining 480-acre land of Gutter Bagicha can be developed into a park for the area residents,” said Engineer, adding that the provincial government will lend its full support to the residents’ cause.
Earlier, Shehri Executive Member Roland DeSouza presented a detail briefing and said that the main purpose of the seminar was to raise the issue at the national level and pressurize the authorities to preserve Gutter Baghicha. The park, which was initially spread over 1,017 acres of land, has existed since 1890 and was established by the Karachi Municipal Committee and the surrounding area was transferred to the Karachi Municipality by the British Crown free of cost.
“Before partition, Gutter Baghichawas spread on almost 1,017 acres but now only 480 acres are left, of which, the CDGK wants to take 200 acres to construct its housing society, which is totally illegal,” he said.
DeSouza mentioned that Shehri has been pursuing the issue for the past 15 years and now a fresh suit has also been filed in the high court, while also referring to Gutter Baghicha as the endangered lungs of Karachi. In a detailed multimedia presentation, DeSouza highlighted the historical position of the park, as well as documenting different periods of the 118-year history of the park.
He said that it was very strange that the CDGK Law Department EDO Manzoor Ahmed was appearing on behalf of public, as he was a member of the very same CDGK committee pursuing the housing society project. DeSouza added that they had also initiated a mass signature campaign to collect at least 100,000 signatures to present in the court and highlight the issue further. He further mentioned that the people living in the surrounding areas had not shown any interest in grabbing the precious land of Gutter Baghicha and, rather, it was the corrupt officials of the local government who had their sights set on the land.
Shehri-CBE General Secretary Amber Alibhai added that the SITE Town officials had also started dumping garbage within the limits of Gutter Baghicha, adding to the despondent state of the site. She also hoped that the City Council Opposition Leader Saeed Ghani will raise the issue on the floor of the house.
-Published in Daily Times | Oct 25, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on October 25, 2008.

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