Mid-Tarai cities lack public parks, trees

- POST REPORT, Chitwan

May 22, 2014-

People in various cities in central Tarai are finding it difficult to beat the heat as green spaces have been destroyed due to rapid urbanisation as well as road expansion and public parks are hard to find.

Cities in Chitwan, for instance, do not have proper public parks. Sahan Pradhan, vice-chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the district, said public parks should be constructed in cities. “We have demanded assistance to construct public parks,” he said, adding that they constructed one near his office.

In Rupandehi, many trees were felled last year for the construction of six-lane Bhairahawa-Sunauli road. One can rarely find trees as well as parks in the main bazaar of Bairahawa. Local residents said greenery is being destroyed in the name of urbanisation and road expansion. “There were trees everywhere in the past. However, it is difficult to find one to sit under at present. What we see around are only buildings,” said Narayan Risal who has been living in the city for the past 43 years. He said that people can neither stay inside their houses due to heat nor are there public parks and trees nearby to enjoy cool breeze.

Likewise, though there are two public parks in Kapilvastu Municipality, they are not managed properly. The municipality’s Executive Officer Diwakar Bhujel said the city lacks public parks.

Birgunj Sub-metropolis in Parsa purchased more than 10 bighas of land near Ghantanagar in order to construct a public park two decades ago but its construction has not been initiated yet. Landless people have already encroached upon the land and built houses.

Likewise, people in the city do not visit the Lazmanwa park on the premises of the Ghadiarwa pond as it is not managed properly. The park was built around three decades ago. Prakash Amatya of the sub-metropolis said that they do not have any plan to construct parks immediately. In Gaur Municipality, a garden where one Tung Samsher Janga Bahadur Rana reportedly used to take rest to avoid heat has been destroyed and the camp of Armed Police Force has been established. District Agriculture Office chief Raj Narayan Yadav said many public parks were destroyed in the district in the past five years in order to operate brick kilns.

Likewise, Hetauda Municipality has a few parks, including Sahid Smarak, Banaskhandi and Parijat Parks, but they are not enough to accommodate the growing population in the city. Pushpalal Park situated in the middle of the city has already been destroyed.

In Bara, half of the area of the Baunna Bigha Park has been destroyed in the past three years. People have encroached upon around 27 bighas of land belonging to the park. The park is believed to have been built around 200 years ago. Other public spaces such as Jharokhar Pokhari, Simraungad and Ranibas have also been destroyed.

Chandra Kishor, a journalist, said sources of water are drying up and cities are losing their beauty due to the destruction of public parks and trees.

With inputs from Bimal Khatiwada in Chitwan, Madhav Dhungana in Bhairahawa, Shankar Acharya in Parsa, Manoj Poudel in Kapilvastu, Shiva Puri in Rautahat and

Pratap Bista in Hetauda

Published: 23-05-2014 08:41

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