Ludhiana parks a safe haven for drug addicts

Sorry state: Garbage littered all over, shanties set up by labourers; industrialists complain municipal corporation has failed to tackle long-standing menaces

punjab Updated: Jan 17, 2018 16:39 IST
Mohammad Ghazali
Mohammad Ghazali
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Ludhiana,Ludhiana parks,safe haven
Labourers who have encroached upon the parks complain that due to meagre pay, they cannot afford accommodation outside the industrial area, which is why they have made the parks their home.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Over five months have passed since the Ludhiana administration sent a report on the dilapidated state of public parks in the Focal Point area to the Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s office (CMO).

In the report, the district administration had recommended that the beautification of the entry points of the area should be taken in coordination with the industrial units operating in the region.

The area houses over 100 manufacturing and production units of small and medium enterprises, but it seems that the local administration has failed to upkeep the parks here.

The state of parks here paints a picture of neglect. Most parks wear a deserted look, with no facilities of shed or water supply. Of the 38 parks in the said area, seven are maintained by the corporates/companies while the rest are maintained by the Ludhiana municipal corporation (MC).

Sewage floods many parks in the Focal Point area in Ludhiana. Industrialists say garbage is being dumped in many parks, that the civic body has failed to clear. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Encroachments and waste disposal on many of the parks has made it difficult to identify them. Most parks have now become slum clusters.

The authorities have not even bothered to check the illegal occupation, say the locals. Due to prolonged negligence by the district authorities, some of the industry associations have started developing and maintaining the parks on their own.

“We have developed one park in Phase 7 of the Focal Point. Despite our efforts, the parks still need some maintenance on part of the local authorities,” said Focal Point Welfare Association president KS Benipal.

“We spent around Rs 20,000 to remove debris and garbage thrown in a park here. Our association installed iron gates in front of the park, and installed a water cooler for the labourers working in the area,” Benipal added.

Some parks housing water supply tank are no less than garbage dumps now, posing serious health hazards to the residents living nearby.

“Without security and in the absence of law enforcement agencies, the parks have become a safe haven for drug addicts, especially after sunset,” said Naval Jain, an industrialist in the Focal Point area. The local businessmen said that municipal commissioner Jaskiran Singh was apprised of the situation when he visited the area last month. The MC commissioner had left after assuring them of proper action, but in vain.

Migrant labourers encroach parks

Most of the parks in the area have been encroached by the migrant labourers. Many parks have now become slums. The labourers, who work in the industrial units, expressed their inability to arrange for an accommodation outside the Focal Point area. “We work in the industrial units here at meagre rates. So, we cannot afford to arrange for accommodation outside the area. In this situations, these parks are a blessing in disguise for us,” said Ramesh, a labourer whose family runs a small shop near the park in Phase 7.

Some parks housing water supply tank are no less than garbage dumps now, posing serious health hazards to the residents living nearby. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Traders blame political apathy

The traders in the Focal Point area say that this part of the city houses industrial units and no residential accommodation, which is why the politicians rarely visit the place. “The migrant labourers do not affect the vote bank of the local politicians much. So, the leaders don’t raise the issue of upkeep the parks in the area,” said, Amritpal Garg, a local trader. The industrialists are now hoping for intervention of the CM after he takes note of the report sent last year.

Anti-encroachment drive to be started

Ludhiana municipal commissioner Jaskiran Singh said that the MC officials keep removing the encroachments at regular intervals. he said that the MC will start another anti-encroachment drive soon. “Some people have been occupying the park since long. After intervention of high court, we had removed the encroachments and will do the same again,” he said..

First Published: Jan 17, 2018 16:39 IST