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ZABARWAN in kashmir
The State Tourism Department has added a new attraction on the banks of the threatened Dal Lake, a theme park called the "Zabarwan Park". It is still a positive development notwithstanding the fate of the Lake.

The piece of land on which the Park has been laid had changed hands a number of times during last few years. Once a former Chief Minister had laid foundation stone at this very spot for constructing a building for cultural activities. However, it is fortunate that the land in question has remained "Green". In fact' the entire Boulevard should have been kept "Green" with similar theme parks right from Dalgate to Nehru Park.

It would have been one of the most attractive Lake fronts anywhere in the world. Unfortunately it has become a built up jungle with hotels and shops leaving hardly any space for a good walk or a picnic. The first culprit in destroying the environmental sanctity of this area had been none else than the Muslim Auqaf which constructed Gulmarg Hotel in early seventies on the directions of the then Chief Minister. Till that time no body was allowed to construct anything on this part of the Lake front. This first construction opened flood gates and dozens of hotels and guest houses were constructed which instead of improving the quality of the Lake destroyed it by dumping their entire waste into it.

The initiative of the Tourism Department in setting up a "Green Patch" for both the tourists and locals needs to be commended. However, the main Department concerned with such activities, the "Floriculture Department" seems to be in deep slumber. Chief Minister while inaugurating the Zabarwan Park stated that Gardening has always been his first love. He gave details of the Tulip Garden which has been laid at his instance near the Botanical Gardens.

He has set an aim of planting 3 million Tulips in the Garden to make it the world's largest Tulip Garden. Appreciating the Chief Minister's love for Gardens, it would be a great contribution if he orders setting up of similar Theme Parks all along the Boulevard round the Dal Lake on all vacant pieces of land regardless of whomsoever it belongs to. In fact the, the private sector can be motivated to undertake this activity by providing suitable incentives. At the same time, the idea of Theme Parks for relaxation and entertainment for both the tourists as well as the locals needs to be implemented in all tourist resorts as also en route and in most frequented picnic spots in the valley.

Over the years one has been a witness to the choking of the lungs of the city. There are dozens of public parks which are in shambles. The Department of Floriculture comes directly under the Chief Minister. It is time he wakes them up. It has been usually complained that there is a shortage of resources to the Department both in manpower as well as funds. They have taken on their hands more than they can properly maintain and look after.