RAWALPINDI: The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) will start building two new parks in Rawalpindi by the end of the month.

The parks will be built in place of older parks in Dhoke Kala Khan and Dhoke Hassu, where locals are currently dumping solid waste, PHA Chairman Asif Mehmood told Dawn.

“These vacant plots used to be parks, but due to the negligence of the previous city administration they turned into garbage dumping areas. We will convert these plots into parks for families,” he said.

The vacant plots used to be parks, but due to negligence they turned into garbage dumping areas, PHA chief says

At present these plots are in the custody of the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation and, but Mr Mehmood said the PHA would get custody of them soon as they have been allocated for parks in the city’s metropolitan planning.

The Punjab government is providing funding to local MPAs, he said, and they had agreed to allocate some money to the development of parks.

Mr Mehmood said the number of parks in densely populated areas needs to be increased, in line with the government’s Green Pakistan programme.

The PHA has also planted trees in and around the metro bus track in the past month, he said. It will now increase its scope of work to Raja Bazaar and nearby areas.

“We will plant trees in Raja Bazaar and adjoining commercial areas to make Rawalpindi green,” he said.

The PHA chairman said a beautification plan has been finalised for Murree Road as well as other main roads in the city, and work in this regard has already begun on Airport Road.

“I visited Airport Road on Saturday and found dry plants, which forced me to deploy all the teams of gardeners on the roads for tree plantations and flowerbeds to the road medians,” he said.

The beautification of other parts of the city will start next month.

“We want to construct boundary walls around the parks in Satellite Town to stop trespassing,” he added, explaining that this is mainly so women and children can visit parks in the evening or for morning walks without fear.

He added that the electrical system in parks would also be improved.

A senior PHA official also told Dawn the authority has asked the Punjab government to release Rs157 million for the improvement of parks and the beautification of Rawalpindi city, as it committed to a month ago.

The authority generates Rs185m annually, he said, which is used to pay its 610 employees and its office expenditures. The official said additional funds are needed for development work.

He said the PHA had demanded Rs200m for the new drive, but the provincial government agreed to Rs157m and asked for a request in this regard.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019