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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Kashmir's Nishat Garden yearns for attention

Ubaid Shafi Bhat , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, March 01, 2013
First Published: 11:09 IST(1/3/2013) | Last Updated: 11:11 IST(1/3/2013)

Situated on the banks of world famous Dal Lake in the backdrop of Zabarwan hills, Kashmir's Nishat Garden is in shambles due to the alleged apathy of the authorities concerned.

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The backside wall of the garden, laid down by Mughal emperor Asif Khan in 1633, is craving for attention.

The wall has got damaged with passage of time and lack of attention by the authorities, leading to development of wide cracks, which gives an easy access to wrongdoers and people who don't want to pay entry taxes and get into the garden free of cost.

Stray animals such as dogs and cattle easily trespass into the garden, creating inconvenience to tourists and visitors in the garden.

Yaseen Rashid Bhat, contractor of entry tickets at Nishat Garden, said, "I got the contract of selling entry tickets by paying a hefty amount of  Rs. 1.1 crore. However, unfortunately people enter the garden without paying for the ticket, thanks to floriculure department's indifference. The floriculture department has not undertaken any construction on the wall, as a result people easily barge into the garden without paying the ticket fee, incurring losses to us."

"We have urged the officials many a time to get the wall repaired, but the department officials seems to have turned a deaf ear to our pleas," he added.

Many officials working in the garden have also complained of theft incidents due to the broken wall.

"In the evening, the garden becomes a safe haven for drug addicts, as they easily barge into the garden and indulge in immoral activities. We have tried to stop them many a time, but were unable to do so, as they misbehave with us," said an employee wishing anonymity.

Locals have demanded that the wall should be repaired as soon as possible as it leaves a bad impression on tourists.

"This site is a heritage for us. We need to preserve it and the government should take necessary action and get the wall renovated," Ghulam Qadir, a local shopkeeper, said.

Director, floriculture, Shri Sunil Misiri said, "We are aware of the problem. We have already taken up the issue in the renovation plan."

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