It has been almost two years since a mega project was started for the beautification of road dividers in Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) zone.
Under the project, various species of flower trees were planted on designated areas of the dividers. Flowers were supposed to bloom on these trees, making the streets more beautiful and decorative.
However, in reality it turned out different. In many places, the trees are not surviving long enough for flowers to bloom. Some of the trees have survived, but despite repeated attempts, flowers are not blooming on them.
Project officials concerned have confirmed the matter to the correspondent.
The mega beautification project, which had a projected cost of Tk12 crore, was supposed to end in June, 2017.
However, planting trees as part of the project still continues.
- A mega beautification project was started by DSCC in 2016
- Trees are dying because of dust and vehicle exhaust smoke pollution
- Even after almost two years, tree have not been planted in many areas
- Experts claim that trees were selected for the project without consideration for seasons
- Tree are not being tended to in many project areas
A notice was sent to the contractor firm responsible for planting and maintaining the trees, asking them to explain why flowers are not blooming on those trees.
The contractor firm stated that the trees were planted after consulting botanical experts. However, despite regular maintenance, watering and expert care, flowers are yet to start blooming.
A number of experts on the field have pointed out that smoke from vehicle exhausts and dust pollution has created an unfavorable condition for the trees. The firms that undertook the project, failed to take into account these factors.
Pollution may be the primary reason for preventing flowers from blooming on the dividers. And experts cannot do anything about it now.
Current status of the beautification project
The beautification project started on June, 2016, and it was scheduled to end on June, 2017. However, the project is far from being completed.
In many places, the trees that were planted are currently dead or dying, and some of the project areas have no trees on the divider.
[caption id="attachment_248168" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Some trees that are being planted already have blooming flowers[/caption]
According to DSCC sources, the decision was taken to plant bougainvillea trees on road dividers.
Before the mega project was undertaken by the DSCC, the beautification was done by private companies and organizations. The catch was that the firms placed a few advertisements on the dividers.
This agreement also allowed the city corporation to save funds, by not spending it for road beautification.
However, a year after being elected, DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon cancelled all agreements with privately owned companies and launched the mega beautification project.
Insiders pointed out that the DSCC made a decision to plant beautification trees on dividers of 8km of city streets.
Under the project, iron fences were supposed to be installed to protect the flower trees.
Visiting the DSCC project areas on Monday, the correspondent found that a number of workers were tending to the trees on dividers from Bangabazar to Shikhkha Bhaban.
However, many dead, dried up and mutilated trees were also to be seen on dividers.
A similar situation existed on the road in front of the Kakrail Mosque. On the other hand, no trees were found on the dividers from Golap Shah’s Shrine to Nightingale Mor.
In some areas, trees with already blooming flowers have been planted on dividers.
Why are the trees dying?
Addressing the issue, an official concerned said: “The trees were not planted taking the seasons into account. The contractor firm planted the trees without any consideration, and is now trying to deflect responsibility.
“Many trees were not tended after they were planted, and in some cases low quality saplings were planted.”
Sources from the Nagar Bhaban (mayor’s office) said: “A consultancy firm was hired to make the project a success.
The so called experts said the streets of Dhaka will be adorned with flowers.
“One and a half years have passed, but the flowers are yet to bloom.”
Owner of the contractor firm Bhuiyaan and Company, Nuru Bhuiyaan, admitted that the mega project is not going according to plan.
[caption id="attachment_248169" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Dying trees are not an uncommon sight on the dividers[/caption]
Speaking to the correspondent, he said: “A flower blooms naturally, we cannot make a flower bloom just because we want to.
“However, we are making a serious effort and three to four experts have been appointed to oversee the project. The trees are being sprayed every day. I am optimistic that the flowers will bloom within a month.”
What do the officials say?
Nuru further said: “The city corporation did not pay us because the flowers did not bloom. The flowers cannot bloom properly if the trees suffer from shades, exhaust smoke and dust pollution. Why are we being held responsible?”
Md Abdus Sobhan, general secretary of Paribesh Bachao Andolon (Save the Environment Movement), told the correspondent, “Dhaka’s air is being polluted by exhaust smoke from vehicles and dust pollution. The trees are fighting for survival, how will they give us flowers?”
He recommended that the city corporation work on improving the air quality of Dhaka, instead of planting trees on the divider.
Commenting on the mega project status, DSCC Additional Chief Engineer Asaduzzaman said: “We have sent a notice to the contractor, and stopped their pay. We will pay them the remaining amount once flowers bloom on the trees.”
DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon could not be reached for comments on the issue as he is currently abroad.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com