Withering of space
Have you ever wondered what is common between a school and a shaadi hall? Both places experience hustle and bustle during a specific time of day only, while they are lucrative businesses with guaranteed profits. But more importantly, they are likely to be found in a residential area.
Over the years, Karachi as a metropolis has grown in all directions, which has put a serious strain on the available resources. In the absence of proper planning, the city lacks the basic amenities which are considered a necessity for a metropolis of this
stature. For example, while planning projects, it’s appalling to notice that most planners make no provisions for parking.
In the past, schools were built on proper campuses, with huge grounds which facilitated participation of students in all kinds of sporting activities. This not only promoted a healthy outlook on life but also instilled a spirit of competition amongst students.
Annual sports days were a regular feature of the academic calendar and were held in huge school grounds, with parents in attendance to cheer on their children. Fast forward to the present day and age and most schools are being set up in compact houses, and that too in thickly populated areas with little provision for sports. Questions like how permission was granted for such an enterprise, without checking the requisite facilities or if the residents were aware of their establishment remain unanswered.
The newly set up school zone at the far end of DHA’s Saba Avenue is a case in point. It houses not just one but six different schools! On a daily basis thousands of people traverse through these roads and face much hardship in the form of congestion during school peak hours. This commotion affects the daily routine of the dwellers in the vicinity, but they have no option but to make adjustments.
In earlier days, weddings used to be strictly family affairs with only the closest relatives receiving invitations. In case of an extensive guest list, very conveniently, the road in front of the host’s house would be blocked with tents, paying little regard to the detours the neighbours had to take to reach their homes. To this day, many of us have a distinct memory of those red and yellow florally patterned shamianas. In contrast, now they are available in fancy styles and boast unique features.
The dawn of the shaadi hall concept witnessed an overwhelming increase in the number of guests, featuring even far-off acquaintances of both families. Being a business with high monetary returns, investors cashed in and sprawling lawns and elaborate structures were developed on all vacant plots. These places can be spotted in our surroundings from a distance where in the day time, the remnants of food consumed the night before can be spotted lying at the entrance for stray animals and scavengers to relish. At night, illuminations make them conspicuous as neighbours dread another episode of musical uproar likely to last till the small hours of the morning, all in the name of entertainment.
These commercial venues also lack adequate parking facilities, which leave the guests with no option but to park in front of houses. At times, showing a total disregard to ethics, people block entrances to the neighbourhood houses, causing inconvenience to the inhabitants. It also creates unnecessary security risks for people in the area as prowlers are on the lookout for easy targets.
The need of the hour is prudent planning not just to preserve open space but to develop proper facilities that benefit the public at large.—Samina Farooqi Ahmed