Highway pillars make Panthokunjo park off-limits to city dwellers


02 January 2022, 13:45

Last modification: January 02, 2022, 03:22 PM

Despite the Tk19.20 crore Dhaka South beautification project, the triangle-shaped Panthakunjo Park has turned into an abandoned space. Development was halted due to the likely installation of raised highway pillars. The top view of Panthakunjo Park at SAARC Fountain Circle in Dhaka was taken recently. Photo: Mumit M

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Despite the Tk19.20 crore Dhaka South beautification project, the triangle-shaped Panthakunjo Park has turned into an abandoned space. Development was halted due to the likely installation of raised highway pillars. The top view of Panthakunjo Park at SAARC Fountain Circle in Dhaka was taken recently. Photo: Mumit M

Strong points

  • Three / four pillars of the elevated highway will be installed at the park
  • Work begins on the Tk19.20 cr project for its embellishment
  • Now a refuge for drug addicts, aggressors, others
  • Environmental pollution for dumping garbage here

“Baba, are you not walking in the park anymore?” Why did its owner leave the open space in an abandoned and dilapidated state? Can’t the kids play here now?

This is a conversation between 15-year-old Yasir Ali and his father Yakub Ali as they strolled along Panthokunjo Park, located opposite the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.

Not only Yasir, everyone who walks in the park as well as those living nearby have common questions about the park, which is located in the middle of two important streets – Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue and CR Datta Road.

The triangle-shaped park has been left derelict and in disrepair for more than three years, although the Dhaka South City Corporation has undertaken a Tk 19.20 crore project to beautify the park. . After slight progress, development work for the park was halted by the company, showing a lame excuse.

The town’s society left it behind, citing the likely installation of elevated highway pillars, helping the open space turn into a rubbish field and a haven for crime.

Speaking to TBS, Yakub Ali said, “If the park opened up to everyone without leaving it abandoned, the people of the region would have had a place to breathe and those with children like my son would also have a place to breathe. place to play.

People are plagued by grubbing up at different times while walking along the park at night, as it now becomes a rubbish field and a shelter for criminal acts, he alleged.

During an on-site visit, this correspondent saw the fence erected around Panthokunjo Park in an almost decrepit state. The interior of the park was covered with bushes, garbage and plastic bags. The drains that were built as part of his beautification work have now become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and insects. Bricks and concrete were seen laid in the open square of the park.

The park authority has stated that for the ongoing elevated highway project, it is not possible to further develop the park. If the development work continues before the fixing of the pillars of the expressway, it can be detrimental to the park.

South Dhaka City Councilor Mohammad Asaduzzaman told TBS that the park is in the current state of decay due to the postponement of its development work. The company is now considering reopening the park to residents of the current state.

Recognizing that many types of criminal activity occur there, the councilor said some untoward incidents occur inside the park after dark thanks to the roaming of a few hijras and floating sex workers. Society and the police are powerless against them.

Superintendent Engineer (Civilian) and South Dhaka Park Development Project Director Munshi M Abul Hashem told TBS that according to the design of the elevated highway, some pillars of the mega infrastructure will be installed in the park, causing its development work to stop.

Dhaka South City Corporation Superintendent Engineer (Environment, Climate and Disaster Management) Md Khairul Baker said: “If the highway authority repairs the pillar installation points, we can continue our work. of development. ”

Regarding Panthokunjo Park, Mayor Sheikh Fazle Nur Tapos said: “We want to protect the park and create an aesthetic atmosphere here, as if the locals can use it and enjoy nature as well”.

“We told those involved in the elevated highway project to use a small area of ​​the park for the highway. In addition, they were asked to implement the project, keeping the park environment intact. . ”

He said development work on the park has been suspended to avoid wasting government money.

However, Elevated Expressway Project Manager AHMS Akter told The Business Standard, “We have fixed the points in the park where we will be installing the pillars, so there is no bar to continue the development work of the park. ”

He also said: “In a space of 30 meters, three to four pillars will be installed on the south side of the park, not in the middle of the park. We spoke to the mayor of South Dhaka and provided a drawing of our project. So the City Corporation can do its job for the development of the park. “

As part of the “Jal Sabujer Dhaka” project undertaken in 2017 for the development of 31 development parks and playgrounds in the city, the modernization of the park began in September 2018.


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