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Dhaka Tribune

Dhanmondi playground open to public

Update : 24 Apr 2014, 10:49 AM

Dhanmondi playground has been opened to public on Thursday, Dhaka South City Corporation (DCC South) has said.

When contacted, executive magistrates of DCC South Atul Mandal and Kabir Mahmud said: “It is not allowed to interfere over the playground without prior permission of the corporation.”

Signboards have been installed there in this regard, they said.

[DCC installs signboards on Thursday saying Dhanmondi playground has been opened to public      Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain]

When visited the spot, the signboards read: “Dhanmondi playground is open to all.”

The DCC decision came days after protests by environmentalists groups.

Activists of over 50 environment and social organisations and also residents of Dhanmondi have been forming human chains and organising rallies demanding the playground be opened to people and all illegal structures by the Dhanmondi Club be stopped.

On April 18, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club General Secretary Arifur Rahman filed a case with Dhanmondi police station against four environmentalists accusing them of creating chaos near the Dhanmondi playground and entering into the playground “illegally”.

On April 22, a Dhaka Court granted bail to them in the case.

Four accused green activists are Mobassher Hossain of the Institution of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), architect Salma A Shafi, Bangladesh Women’s Sports Association General Secretary Kamrunnahar Dana and Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA) Iqbal Habib.

In 2004, following submission of a petition by the BAPA and IAB, the High Court directed the then city corporation (now Dhaka South City Corporation) to free Dhanmondi playground from the illegal occupation by Sheikh Jamal Club.

In March 2011, the court again ordered the DSCC, the Public Works Ministry and the club authorities to remove all illegal structures so that the ground remains open to everyone.

Meanwhile, the High Court April 22 started hearing on the writ petition filed seeking access of all walks of people to the Dhanmondi playground.

The bench of Justice Salma Masud Chowdhury and Justice Habibul Gani adjourned the hearing till Sunday.

The petition, lodged by six persons including architects Mobassher Hossain, Iqbal Habib and a local inhabitant Farzana Shahnaj, also sought halting construction of illegal establishment in the playground.  

The plea also sought the High Court’s direction to remove the illegal establishment.

It also sought a rule asking to explain as to why the failure of the respondents to protect the Dhanmondi playground should not be held illegal.

Local government secretary, housing secretary, Dhaka South City Corporation, RAJUk directior (administration), chief engineer of local government and engineering department and Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club were made respondents in the petition.

The club authorities claimed that the playground was for only the elites while environment activists and local residents pressed for access of all to the field.

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