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Dhaka Tribune

Farmgate Park turning into a squatters’ den

Update : 20 Mar 2014, 06:53 PM

The Farmgate Park in the capital has almost become an undesirable place for visitors as encroachment, illegal structures and antisocial activities now rule the place. It has apparently been turned into ‘a place to avoid’ as the authorities concerned have time and again failed to ensure that it remains a popular hangout for visitors. 

A section of the floating population stay in illegal makeshift establishments built inside the park which becomes a safe haven for drug addicts, sex workers, muggers and petty criminals when it gets dark. Even during daytime, miscreants dominate the park, making it impossible for city dwellers to visit it alone as they fear they might get into trouble.

A number of visitors told this correspondent the park would soon resemble places like Suhrawardy Udyan, Chandrima Uddyan and Ramna Park, spots synonymous with antisocial and indecent acts.

“For long, the park was free from illegal establishments and immodest activities for example, that cause a public nuisance. It is only lately that sex workers, drug addicts, hookers and muggers throng the place,” Sakib Hasan, a resident of Indira Road in Farmgate, told the Dhaka Tribune.

“If the situation continues to be so, I fear it will become like other similar parks in the city where people will hardly be interested in going,” he added.

A group of students studying at Tejgaon College echoed the same view, saying the park was a real turn-off because of the presence of sex workers and drug addicts.

Shamima Akhter, one of the many homeless people staying in makeshift habitations, said she was forced to live here as she had nowhere else to go. “I came here with my husband from a slum of Tejgaon and we have no other place to live.”

Another illegal inhabitant of the park named Saiful said: “No one charges us for staying here.”

Md Kabir Ahmed Bhuiyan, chief engineer at PWD (Public Works Department), said he was unaware of such illegal occupation of the park by impoverished people.

“I just heard it from you, we will take necessary steps against this,” he told this correspondent.

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