Kupwara town is among the only few major towns in Kashmir without a recreational park, despite people of the district demanding it for long time.
“When we visit Kupwara for some work and if a friend meets, there is no proper space to hangout, relax and talk,” says Arsheed Rasheed, a student of Degree College Kupwara.
There is one small public park in the main town near Jamia Road and Iqbal Market, however, “the park looks more of a desert in summer and a mired paddy field during winters” because the park has no grass.
The park is mostly used for public rallies by unionist politicians during elections and other events.
Sometime back there was some renovation work done on this public gathering space but it faces maintenance issues.
The iron chairs/couches in the park have got uprooted from their places. The benches in the kiosks have no planks and the nails are visible.
The park is surrounded by workshops and chicken shops, “which create a lot of noise and smell which disturbs the calmness,” says Tanveer Ahmad who is roaming in the park in wait of his friend.
Apart from issues related to Park, the general bus stand is all mud and roaming cows. “The pedestrians have to face hardships while walking in the general bus stand,” says a pedestrian Iqbal Ahmad.
“The roaming cows pounce on the vegetables and other products that we place on the shop fronts,” said a shopkeeper in the Dar Gali near bus stand.
When Kashmir Life contacted Executive Officer Municipal Committee Kupwara, he blamed the Urban and Housing Department and District Development Office for not providing the sufficient funds for the maintenance of the town including the park.
(Zafar Aafaq is an Intern with Kashmir Life.)