–Locals express annoyance over marriage functions in residential vicinities’ parks on daily basis, subsequent troubles
LAHORE: The residents of the provincial capital’s Gulberg III locality have been deprived of parks owing to wedding ceremonies being held there on a regular basis, whereas reckless management of the functions has also perturbed those who live nearby.
As per the details, while being deprived of a recreational facility as basic as parks despite paying for it, the locals have also been left irked over the hustle and bustle of weddings, the consequent traffic and loud music in violation of the Punjab Marriage Functions Act, 2016.
Pakistan Today learnt that the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) was charging Rs23,000 as rent for each wedding ceremony while paying no heed to the requests of residents seeking a ban on the practice. “The parks, at times, are also handed over for free to oblige some people.”
“Among the most-affected areas are Gulberg III’s H, J and K blocks where marriage functions are being held while causing nuisance to the residents. Pasha Ground of the J-Block is also one of the affected grounds,” sources said and added that the parks were being managed by three gardeners while no guard or evening shift staff was present despite there being a salary record of the staffers with PHA.
They also said that the residents had requested PHA Director General Misbahul Hasan Dar and PHA Coordination Director Mudassir Ejaz for relief in this regard and to not rent out the parks for wedding functions, but they had not addressed the complaints.
According to a survey, there are four wedding halls on the Guru Manget road, seven halls on the road connecting Kalma Chowk to Main Market, more than four halls and marquees in Ghalib market, three wedding halls in Makkah Colony and a number of others on MM Alam Road and in the adjoining Hussian Chowk area.
“My children cannot play in the park because the gardener working there throws them out every time they visit it,” a resident of J-block, Mobeen Yaseen, told this scribe.
He said that every time a wedding ceremony was held in the local park, fireworks, loud music and traffic spelt misery for them, especially senior residents. “Moreover, since there is no proper maintenance and water usually accumulates in the park during the rainy season, we are exposed to dengue and other diseases but none of the authorities concerned bat an eye.”
Another resident of the same area, Niaz Ali Shah, said that PHA was depriving the residents of basic facilities while minting money for their own interests.
“This park is no more a recreational place for us. Neither does it have any grass, nor is it accessible most of the time due to some ongoing functions. There have been instances when we cannot even park our vehicles outside or reach back home because of the reckless management of the wedding ceremonies that result in massive jams on our streets.”
A senior citizen, Zakia Bibi, said that being a heart patient, it was even worse for her. “I appeal to the authorities concerned and the chief justice to ban these wedding ceremonies in parks that are located in residential areas so that people like me can live in peace. The loading and unloading of trucks before and after wedding ceremonies only adds to the undue noise of loud music.”
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Environment Protection Department spokesperson Nasimur Rehman said that it was a municipal offence when people had to face environmental and noise pollution. “The district and local administration should not be allowing such events in residential vicinities.”
PHA Coordination Director Mudassir Ejaz said that the PHA act sanctioned them to rent out parks for wedding events.
“Previously, weddings were held on roads and streets which resulted in nuisance for the locals. We do not permit holding such functions in small or ladies parks and have a provision under which the locals can form a committee and visit to share with us any problems they face due to the goings-on in the parks.”
Speaking of the claim that the authority, at times, provided parks to certain parties for free, he said that they had a quota system for widows and retired government employees under grade 14, who were facilitated.