THE allegation raised by eminent citizens and rights activists that both the city corporations of Dhaka are failing miserably to protect the capital’s playgrounds should be taken into serious consideration by the high-ups of the city corporations. The offices of different political parties, a rickshaw garage, piles of bamboo and remains of construction materials inside Dhupkhola Math certainly refutes the fact that Dhupkhola Math is a playground. Local people, as New Age reported on Monday, alleged that the huge playground, said to be the largest in the capital, was left in such neglect after the Orion Group contractor of Mayor Mophammad Hanif Flyover deserted the space in a dilapidated condition in 2013. The city corporation does not pay any heed to this is evidenced in the fact that neither the Orion nor the Dhaka South City Corporation cleaned the playground creating scope for the influential people to grab the space. We may recall that Dhanmondi playground had the recognition of being an open field for all but a powerful section of people, including Dhanmondi Club and Sheikh Jamal club, grabbed it defying the laws of the land and a High Court directive.
Like the basic amenities, playgrounds, parks or open spaces are crucial as far as a vibrant urban life is concerned. Such facilities provide breathing space for city dwellers who have to spend most of the day earning livelihood and thus feel exhausted. In this context, Dhaka has always failed to meet the standard. There used to be a number of playgrounds, parks and open spaces developed by the city authorities here even during 1990s. But, regrettably, for apparent indifference of the city authorities to public interest at large on the one hand and prevalence of land grabbers belonging to successive governments on the other, many of them disappeared over the past few years. Even an order issued by the High Court in this regard has failed to stop such menace. Consequently, the natural catchment areas of the city have been filled up to make room for new buildings; the minimum breathing space required for people of the locality has been stamped out and the power of money, of a section of people, and greed, of some officials, have colluded to transform what was once a placid, idyllic metropolis into nearly an unliveable place.
At this juncture, the government needs to come up with effective steps to make both the city corporations and other relevant agencies active to formulate a plan to return these playgrounds to the common people. It also needs to overhaul the city corporations of the capital in a stringent manner
without any delay.
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