The issue of shrinking green space was not mentioned in any of the House of Representatives candidates’ speeches.

Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, May 27

Rapid urbanisation is making the holy city overcrowded, but neither the political parties nor the candidates contesting the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat have given any thought to expanding the green space.

Manreet Singh, a hotelier, said devotees entering the city from the GT Road are not greeted by a lush landscape, but by the Rehiri that runs on both sides of the Golden Gate-ISBT stretch. Problems include unregulated traffic, sand-laden vehicles splashing about and too much concrete. He urged politicians contesting from Amritsar constituency, home to the holiest Sikh shrine, to consider cleaning up the stretch and making it lush, to please the eyes of tourists returning from a weary journey.

There are several theories that Amritsar has been a city of gardens since its founding. The city’s founder, Guru Ramdas, created gardens in the city and dug a large sarowar near Santoksar Bagh. The fifth Sikh master, Guru Arjan Dev, built the city’s first garden, called Guru Ka Bagh, on the east side of the Golden Temple. A century ago, the walled city had small gardens at every turn. Most of these gardens have now been encroached upon, developed into areas, or turned into car parks.

Amrit Anand Park and the jogging track along the Upper Bali Doab Canal (UBDC) are the latest additions to the city’s green space in the last decade or so. Meanwhile, rapid urbanisation has seen many areas come up across the bypass in the last 24 years.

Concerned citizens believe that these parks are inadequate compared to the size of new areas that have come up in the city.They find solace in the fact that 38 parks have been redeveloped in Phase I and Phase II of the Smart City project.

Balram Sharma, a resident of Ranjit Road, demanded that green parks and playgrounds be established on all sides of the city for the convenience of residents and youth. He believes this can be done only if the contesting candidates incorporate these views in the plan.

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