Sunday, February 1, 2009
The Sultan’s Park in Male is a cozy little garden in the heart of the capital. At least it would be –if one removes all the weed, remove the dead plants, water the lawns, pave the dusty walkways and plant new flowers: in short reverse the decades of neglect suffered by the only garden in Male. The new leadership at the Municipality has removed the barbed wires enclosing the park. They must follow it up with a sustainable plan to maintain it.
Sultan’s Park stands at the site of the royal palace of Maldives, parts of which are still preserved as the National Museum. After demolishing the other buildings in the palace compound, the government of Ibrahim Nasir established the park in the late 1960s. Those days it was a beautiful garden where many memorable childhood photographs were taken. Later for some unexplained reasons the park went into years of neglect and parts of the garden were given to Dhiraagu.
Currently the park is a bit too small to be the only garden in Male. However with a little bit of imagination and courage a swath of greenery can be developed extending from the Park to the President’s Office through Bandeyrige, Republican Square and the site of Ghazee building and Faashana building. The latter two buildings are dilapidated and await demolition. And at a time when we are talking of reducing the size of the government, why two additional buildings must be built to replace them is a relevant question especially when Velaanaage building is nearing completion. Similarly why the headquarters of the Maldives National Defense Force must occupy the face of Male is beyond comprehension.
Male has suffered from years of neglect, seriously compromising the quality of life of its citizens. Sacrifices must be made to bring the old glory of Male.