• Thursday, Apr 25, 2019
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Vagrants and cattle take over unfinished stadium

  • Published at 04:25 pm September 19th, 2017

At first sight, it looks like anything but a stadium. There are troughs on one side of the ground while a good number of cattle are grazing the field. And they are not alone. Clusters of makeshift sheds standing on a bamboo frame and polythene sheets provide shelter to a good number of homeless people. It appears all the homeless of Lalmohon upazila headquarters have started living in the partly completed stadium building. The entrance has already been taken over by some tea stalls and the office of a transportation workers' union. When this Dhaka Tribune correspondent approached some of the occupants of the stadium, they simply stated that they were illegally staying inside the skeleton of a building as no one was complaining about. It appears no one is even concerned about it as the stadium -- located beside Bhola-Char Fashion road in Lalmohon upazila – has been in existence on paper for more than a decade. The four acre plot for the stadium was acquired in 2001. Some sand-filling to lift the ground and part of the building construction work were completed after the laying of the foundation stone in 2004. It was named after former BNP minister Bir Bikram Major (retd) Hafiz at that time. In 2014, it was renamed the Sheik Russel Stadium. Lalmohon Upazila Krira Sangstha Secretary Shah Md Jahedul Islam Nabin said the stadium's land was illegally occupied as it has remained unused for about a decade. At the same time, sporting activity at the upazila has suffered for the lack of facilities that can be provided through a functional stadium, he observed. Asked about the illegal occupancy of the stadium, Lalmohon Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Shamsul Arefin said they would carry out an eviction drive at the stadium area very soon. The local administration had also asked the Jatiya Krira Parishad to take effective steps to complete the remaining works, he added.