Work on park begins, shops demolished
LASHKARGAH (PAN): Construction work on a recreational park has been launched in the capital of southern Helmand province after demolition of shops that were illegally built, officials said on Sunday.
The demolition of shops came in compliance with a presidential decree that allotted a kilometre piece of land, which has an 80-metre width, for the construction of the park in Lashkargah.
Mayor Mohammad Fazil Sapi said that the land had been allocated for the park under the old master plan. He added people had illegally built shops on the land over the past 20 years.
He continued the shops were destroyed in compliance with the presidential decree that called for the land to be retaken from illegal occupants and turned into a green space.
Sapi told Pajhwok Afghan News the shops destroyed numbered 2,000, saying affected shopkeepers would be given land elsewhere in the city.
He said they had no specific budget for the park, but seven entities --- the municipality, the intelligence department, the police headquarters, the sixth border police zone, public order police, Afghan National Army, the transport and the agriculture departments --- had pledged funds.
Governor Mohammad Naeem, laying the foundation stone of the park, told reporters the land was returned to the municipality after being cleared of illegal structures.
He said if the city’s old master plan was implemented, it would add to the beauty of the city and recreation facilities for dwellers would vastly improve.
Nasima Niazai, who represents Helmand in the Wolesi Jirga, said there had been rumours the land would be distributed to government officials after the destruction of shops.
She said the inauguration of construction work not only laid the rumors to rest, but also helped ejected illegal grabbers from the land.
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