Karachi: With its proposed facilities, Manghopir Resort, if constructed within stipulated time and without any hurdles in terms of funding, is all set to become a model recreational zone in the country. However, there are some fears regarding the eviction of the locals, who have been inhabited the area for generations, including those associated with the famous shrine of Manghopir and its adjoining pond of crocodiles.
The scheme is extremely ambitious. It includes a lake for fishing to cater to angling enthusiasts as well as facilities for cooking by the lake’s shores. Besides this, cottages will also be constructed there.
There is also a plan to set up a golf course with international facilities and a water amusement park. A proposal has also been floated to set up a “city forest” while wooden huts on the hilltop for temporary stay of visitors along with a hilltop view park have also been proposed.
Plants and trees will be grown using the drip irrigation system to provide a green cover while dew jet poles are also included in the scheme to make the atmosphere pleasant by decreasing the warm temperature. Roads leading to the Manghopir Resort will be constructed and repaired while space for car parking for visitors will also be provided.
At present, it is full of wild growth and extremely underdeveloped, which provides ample shelter for criminals. “After completion of the resort, the area will be a recreational place and will add on to the beauty of the city,” the officials believed.
Hussain Bux Mallah, research officer at the Collective for Social Science Research, however, has his reservations. He says that developing the resort was a good thing but it would be advisable for the authorities to give due considerations to other aspects.
“There is the possibility of eviction of inhabitants as often happens in the case of such schemes. The resort should not be developed at cost of evictions of residents,” he said. He regretted that land ownership in the city was vague. “There are old villages, which officially are not recognized. A large number of members of the Sheedi community have been living there for centuries who, along with fishermen, were the original inhabitants of the city,” he said, adding that they had strong attachment with the area and even celebrated Sheedi Mela each year. Mallah said that, similarly, ownership of the crocodiles at the shrine was “hereditary” as the same family of caretakers of the Sufi saint, Pir Mangho, had been taking care of the reptiles for generations and had strong attachment with the crocodiles.
The Additional Chief Secretary (Development), Nazar Hussain Mahar, told The News that both the CDGK and the Local Government Department had informed them that there would be no evictions. He said instead, there was possibility that if the proposed site of the resort was not protected, it might be encroached upon.
He said they would provide support and better environment for protection of crocodiles where tourism would be increased to provide job opportunities and other facilities to the inhabitants.[The News]