Insensitivity of the government towards the depleting green cover has come to the fore in the recent past wherein the district administration, local government offices and even the forest department has failed to take action against various entities encroaching upon green belts and axing trees.
It is rather unfortunate when government, despite being the custodian of the green belts and public parks, uses them for other purposes.
The latest example of its apathy is the shifting of the malkhana of police commissionerate to a public park on Ghoda Factory Road.
Ironically, the public park was already being used as a warehouse by none other than the tehbazari wing of the municipal corporation (MC), which has to maintain and develop green belts.
As it happened, the police commissionerate was using 1.5 acres at the new court complex to dump vehicles and other articles, thereby leaving little space for lawyers to park their vehicles.
Hence, lawyers went up in arms against the district administration to intervene and get it vacated, following which deputy commissioner Rajat Agarwal convened a meeting with police commissioner Nirmal Singh Dhillon and corporation commissioner Rahul Tewari.
Thereafter, MC was requested to allot space to the police commissionerate to shift its malkhana and a cremation ground in Jawaddi village was chosen for the purpose.
However, area councillor Tanveer Dhaliwal objected to the proposal and gave a representation to the MC commissioner to rollback the decision.
Another meeting was convened and an alternative site was chosen which happens to be a site for the public park.
DC Agarwal said this was a stopgap arrangement and that the police commissioner had already been intimated about it. The MC commissioner has sent a proposal to the government and the decision on the change of land use would depend upon it.
Meanwhile, when asked about offering a green belt for shifting of malkhana, Rahul Tewari said the park for long was being used to store items recovered by tehbazari wing.
"As far as encroachments on other green belts and public parks under MC is concerned, we plan to retrieve them very soon and the process for the same is underway," he added.
The MC commissioner also said some corporates had agreed to take up the responsibility for maintenance of some parks and the results would be visible in near future.
City-based environmentalist Sardool Singh said there were more than 40 public parks and several green belts in the city, which had been encroached upon, while the governing bodies had failed to retrieve or maintain them for reasons best known to them.
"Recently, some full grown trees were axed on the Mall Road to carry out commercial activity inside a house but forest department slept over it," Singh added.
Some encroachments on public parks
The Ghumar Mandi police post had initially occupied a small portion of the Nehru Rose Garden, but has now encroached upon a large area and built a permanent structure
The Police Chowki in Kochar Market is also built on the green belt area. The remains of iron grill boundary can still be seen at the police chowki
Government School in Salem Tabri is an encroachment on public park. A community centre, too, has come up on the area earmarked for green belt in Salem Tabri.