Parks remain closed although everything reopens

Rashad Ahamad | Published: 23:59, Jul 10,2020 | Updated: 00:01, Jul 11,2020


A man climbs a gate of Suhrawardi Udyan in Dhaka on Friday while the park is now off limits to public due to the coronavirus outbreak. — Sourav Lasker

Most city parks still remained closed when markets, public transport and other offices reopened on a limited scale after over three months of closure for COVID-19.

City people and public health experts said that public health structure reopening was a priority in this time of the new scourge.

Authorities concerned said that they were not thinking of reopening the spaces soon.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Muzib Medical University public health associate professor Romen Raihan said that the limited public spaces were the only breathing spaces for the urban population. Parks have a positive impact on the human body as it is a source of vitamin D and fresh air, he added.

‘If the government can reopen businesses, why can’t parks be reopened following the health guidelines,’ he asked.

Although he feared misuse of such open spaces and suspected that there would be people who would not maintain the health guidelines as there are cases of failure of the authorities in maintaining the health guideline.

For children, senior citizens and women, parks are important as it is here that they are able to burn calories, reduce high-level of fat and sugar, he said.

Jahangirnagar University urban planning professor said that the government has reopened businesses, transport and offices without proper preparation. Why should parks be left out, he asked. 

City corporation officials said that there were over 70 parks in Dhaka, including the small ones.

Dhaka North City Corporation superintending engineer (environment circle) Tarik Bin Yusuf said that they have started construction at most of the city parks while few others maintained by societies.

‘The societies will take decision about the park reopening not the City Corporation,’ he said.

Ramna Park, a large patch of green in an otherwise congested city, was closed soon after the virus outbreak in March and did not reopen till today.

Public works superintendent engineer AKM Suhrawardy said that they were renovating the park in this time of virus proliferation.

He said the park would be reopened after completion of the renovation work.

We can reopen the park on a limited scale but the maintenance of the health guidelines would be a challenge, he said.

Dhaka’s large public space like Suhrawardy Uddayan and Osmani Uddayan also remained shut for renovation.

Thousands of people daily used to walk on the walkways of Mohammadpur Central Edgamath but it remained closed since the first day of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Azizul Haque, a resident of Sher-Shah-Suri Road, who lives adjacent to the Edgamath, said that they lacked open spaces while the city corporation continued to deprive them of whatever limited opportunities they had for workout.

‘I am a diabetic patient and I need to walk regularly in the field but the coronavirus has made things difficult,’ he said.

Over 30 parks at different residential areas in Dhaka remained closed at present.

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