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4 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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City corpns party to gobbling up parks

Allege green activists
STAFF REPORTER

Unplanned construction and encroachment are gradually gobbling up open spaces and greenery in Dhaka and even the city corporations are party to this. The allegation came at a protest by green activists to save Nababganj Shishu (children’s) Park from the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), which plans to build a multi-storied building, including a community centre, at the park. At least 20 social organizations, including green forums led by the Paribesh Bachao Andolan (POBA), staged a human-chain protest yesterday at the Nababganj Berrybandh (embankment) near the park, protesting against DSCC’s decision.

Among others, POBA chairman Abu Naser Khan and general secretary Abdus Sobhan, NASAF’s general secretary Toyeb Ali, Subandhan Samaj Kalyan president Habibur Rahman Habib, Paribesh Andolan Mancha president Amir Hasan Masud, Nongar president Sumon Shams, BD Click president Aminul Islam, Swapner Shiri Samaj Kalyan Songstha chairperson Ummey Salma, and Youth Sun coordinator Tanvir also spoke at the rally.

The speakers pointed out that many parks and open playgrounds have already been grabbed by governmental and non-governmental organizations. Tikatuli Park, Uttara Sector 1 Park, Shahid Park at Mohammadpur, and Azimpur Park have already disappeared, the speakers said. Besides, sections

of Nababganj Park, Jatrabari Crossing Park, Nayatola Shishu Park, Lalmatia New Colony Park, Panthakunja, and Salimullah Road Field have been occupied to build a Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) pumping station, a corporation community centre, commissioner’s office, and clinics, the speakers alleged.

“It is very unfortunate that the regulatory bodies are not aware of the need to protect these valuable parks and open grounds. Small and medium-sized parks are at a risk of forceful occupation,” Abu Naser Khan said.

“The DSCC is planning to destroy the only children’s park and playground in Nababganj, under ward number 23, when open spaces, parks, and playgrounds are shrinking in the capital,” he alleged.

The DSCC’s decision to build the multi-storied building in the park is against the Park, Field and Water Conservation Act 2000 and the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act 1995, the green activist argued. He urged the authority to withdraw the decision.

An adequate number of parks, playgrounds, gymnasiums, libraries, and community centres are needed in different areas of a city, on the basis of the population size. According to the Dhaka City Infrastructure Plan 1995, the city was supposed to get 20 per cent green and open spaces by 2015. But, the authorities are yet to take any step in that regard. On the contrary, many green and open spaces have been gobbled up.

There are only 27 parks, nine playgrounds, and 36 community centres under DSCC, Abdus Sobhan said. He added, “The city corporation law requires the civic bodies to protect and conserve these structures. But they are trying to destroy these structures instead by allowing the WASA and PDB to construct buildings on them.”

“Citizens will not accept DSCC’s decision to construct a building in the Nababganj Shishu Park, and the authority concerned should stop their activities immediately considering the fate of the future generations,” said Sobhan, who is also a former additional director general of the department of environment.

An ideal city needs 25 per cent greenery and open spaces, he said. “We have only five per cent open ground and greenery in the old part of Dhaka and 12 per cent in the new part. The city corporation is a service provider. If needed, they can build community centres or other structures by procuring land, but not by occupying parks or playgrounds,” he underscored.

However, DSCC CEO Khan Mohammad Bilal claimed, “It’s not a children’s park. It has a dispensary and other structures, including some open space.”

According to him, the DSCC has approved the design of a modern community centre and a multi-storied building after discussing the matter with locals. “However, the DSCC won’t implement any project if the city dwellers don’t want it,” he concluded.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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