Locals are infuriated over leasing out of a portion of Maharaja Hari Singh Park by the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) to a prominent city hotelier.
People living around the park have threatened to launch an agitation if JDA fails to revoke its decision. Residents of Prem Nagar, Chand Nagar, Kanji House and Gujjar Nagar who are residing near the park are feeling cheated and have insisted that they will not accept any such construction and a hotel will never be allowed to come up here.
Some of them said "the hotel will be built on our bodies".
Last week, JDA had leased out 8 kanals of Maharaja Hari Singh Park along the banks of river Tawi at Rs 2.56 crore per kanal.
The park is situated on the banks of the Tawi. The maximum part of Jammu city is surrounded by Tawi. As of now, there are only three parks in Jammu. The inauguration of Maharaja Hari Singh Park came as a boon to locals, who were living in concrete structures and cramped spaces. As of now, the park is being used for morning/evening walks, children for playing and for other recreational activities.
While expressing resentment over the construction of hotel, locals are castigating JDA for the bizarre move.
"We will not allow this to happen. The land of park cannot be sold. The park provides us pollution-free environment, which we do not find in our localities. We have no other source of recreation," a local said.
"The other park is way off from my home and this park only few metre from my house. Doctors have advised me to walk at least an hour every day. Now if this park is going to shrink, it will lose much of its area," said a senior citizen of Prem Nagar.
Questioning the necessity of selling the portion of park, Pushvinder Singh Manhas, senior vice-president of Yuva Panthers, said, "The JDA is insulting Maharaja Hari Singh by selling out park founded on his name for commercial purposes. The way JDA had sold a portion of park, it will sell entire park with the passage of time."
Duggar Vikas Manch president Dineshwar Singh Jamwal said they are planning to launch stir against this move.
"We are deeply hurt by this move of JDA to handover portion land for construction of a hotel. It is a great disrespect to Maharaja Hari Singh. Moreover it is a sheer deceit with locals who were craving for this park for so many years," he said.
On Sunday, PDP has warned the state government to revoke sale order of chunk of land in already proposed Maharaja Hari Singh Park or be ready to face agitation.