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6 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Disappearing parks

It is disturbing to note that unplanned construction and encroachment are gradually gobbling up open spaces and greenery in Dhaka and even the city corporations are party to this. According to a report of this newspaper on Sunday, 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 organisations, including green forums led by the Paribesh Bachao Andolan (POBA), staged a human-chain protest on Saturday at the Nababganj Berrybandh (embankment) near the park, protesting against DSCC’s decision.

Park or an open space with greenery is like a lung in the busy mega-city full of traffic snarls, smokes and dusts. People come to this place to have a respite from the monotonous routine life. An ideal city needs 25 per cent greenery and open spaces but there is only five per cent open ground and greenery in the old part of Dhaka and 12 per cent in the new part. Since the city corporation is a service provider, if needed, it can build community centres or other structures by procuring land, but not by occupying parks or playgrounds.

  Many parks and open playgrounds have already been grabbed by governmental and non-governmental organisations. Tikatuli Park, Uttara Sector 1 Park, Shahid Park at Mohammadpur, and Azimpur Park have already disappeared. 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.

What is very unfortunate is that the regulatory bodies are not aware of the need to protect these valuable parks and open grounds. There are laws against encroachment of public places but execution of those is hardly noticed. The sufferers do not go to court because the entire process is cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive. Many cases run for years together. Successive governments showed lukewarm attitudes in recovering the lands. Taking advantage of it, the lawyers engaged by the grabbers with lucrative honorariums gained upper hand. The legal system for recovering the grabbed lands should be strengthened. It is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to take the sternest measures against the encroachers. The government officials aiding the grabbers should also be reined in.

 

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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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