Baramulla: The Eco Park in Baramulla, an island park covered from all sides by River Jhelum, is in shambles despite being a prominent spot for locals and visitors.
The park close to the highway is rich in natural beauty and flora. It is the only park in the district where people prefer to spend leisure time in summers and is visited by hundreds of school children from across north Kashmir.
However, the visitors lament that the park has been turned into a garbage dump and that stray dogs and cattle roam in the park round the clock.
The toilets in the park are choked and there is no drinking water available for either the visitors or the employees. The lights are broken or defunct.
Masrat Jan, a school teacher from Kupwara, who visited the park recently along with school children, was dismayed by the condition of the park.
“I had heard there is only one place in north Kashmir where children can feel better and where natural environment is available for tourists. What I saw there was no drinking water facility and all the bathrooms were overflowing, it was not a good experience for me and the children.”
The experience is shared by most of the visitors.
“Eco park name came from eco tourism but I never saw such thing in the park. Moreover, there is no lighting system, there are so many broken electric poles and other lighting system completely defunct from years. There are no toys for kids, we saw some broken toys and park was completely turned into a garbage dump,” Khalid Mehmood, a local visitor said.
An employee working in the park said that department earns around 12 lakh rupees from the park every year, but fails to provide better facilities to visitors. He said that another department was responsible for the maintenance of lights and development.