10 prominent people have demanded to remove the commercial establishment from the park ground

10 eminent persons have demanded the removal of existing commercial establishments from the city’s parks and playgrounds. This claim was made in a statement sent to the media on Tuesday.

The statement said that various public and private organizations including two city corporations of Dhaka are illegally constructing structures in various parks and fields of the capital Dhaka. The environment of the city will become more critical. Therefore, Dhupkhola field, Bahadur Shah Park and Gulshan Sahabuddin Park and other parks and grounds including the commercial establishments built or under construction in Dhaka must be removed quickly. Also, necessary steps should be taken for proper conservation and maintenance by keeping them free from commercial establishments.

According to the statement, there is a historical incense field of about 7 acres in Ward No. 45 of Dhaka South City in Gandaria of Old Dhaka. In 2016, local people protested the initiative to build a commercial children’s park there. Dhaka South City Corporation was forced to hold a public hearing.

In the face of residents’ objections and agitations, the project was temporarily stopped. Later in 2021, Dhaka South City Corporation started the construction of a market for the purpose of collecting revenue in the field without the approval of Rajuk and the permission of the Department of Environment. In that, 0.62 percent of the field is decreasing.

Similarly, Bahadur Shah Park has also been leased out by Dhaka South City Park. The lessee has built permanent infrastructure and shops there. This is damaging the natural environment of the park. Local people’s opportunities to take fresh air, exercise and walk are being disrupted. But this park, rich in history, tradition and antiquities, is a place of relaxation for old Dhaka residents. It is also used by students of 14 nearby educational institutions.

On the other hand, Dhaka North City has set up a coffee shop at their Sahabuddin Park in Gulshan. There is no justification for constructing buildings and coffee shops in a public park.

The statement mentioned the violation of the law, the existing law relating to construction in the three parks and fields and the Playground, Open Space, Park and Natural Reservoir Conservation Act of 2000 (No. 36 of 2000) Act) has been clearly violated. It is not understandable that these laws are being violated by the City Corporation by any force or discretion. Rajuk’s silence in this case is also unacceptable. No public opinion has been verified for these commercial establishments. Even other experts, including city planners, were not consulted.

The question is asked to the authorities, what is the main thing is to make profit or money to the city institutions and authorities that provide services? Creating an ideal environment for people to live is absolutely secondary?

The statement was signed by the President of Bangladesh Environment Movement (Bapa) and human rights activist Sultana Kamal, Coordinator of Non-Governmental Organization Nijra Kari Khushi Kabir, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) Shamsul Huda, Head of Citizen Initiatives. Executive Zakir Hossain, President of Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) Fazle Reza Sumon, Director of Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust Gaus Peary, Founder of Green Savers Ahsan Roni, Editor of Green Voice Alamgir Kabir and Chief Executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA). Syeda Rizwana Hasan.

In this, they referred to the detailed regional planning (DAP) information of the Capital Development Authority and said that 41 of the 129 wards of the two cities of Dhaka do not have any playgrounds. But a modern city needs a field for every half square kilometer. Compared to the area of 305.47 square kilometers of the two cities of Dhaka, at least 610 fields are needed. There are only 256, but their size is insufficient in proportion to the population.