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No path to walk, no place to play

  • Published at 12:06 am November 29th, 2019
Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

We need more open spaces for children in Dhaka city

Recently, there have been a number of thoughtful writings and editorials about the lack of spaces for young people to play in, and others regarding the fact that pavements or footpaths are often blocked.

Even an up-market area like Banani does not escape these problems. And yet, the authorities do not seem to care, be it the Banani Society or the Dhaka North City Corporation. 

Recently, I was talking about these problems with a local resident and his reaction was that, nobody in their right mind should exercise out of doors. The air is so polluted, you should go to a gym that has an air purifier. 

Well, that is alright if you can afford it, but why don’t we all try to get involved with tackling pollution of all kinds and putting more pressure on the authorities to wake up and work for the benefit of all?

Sometimes I wonder if the city corporation sees the Banani field only as a source of income. It certainly does not spend any money on its maintenance or cleanliness. 

Everyone appreciates the annual beautiful Puja Pandal which understandably takes time to erect, but there is no pressure on the Puja committee to dismantle everything as quickly as possible, and so this year the field was virtually closed for nearly two months. 

This is where members of the committee of the Banani Society need to become involved for the benefit of all.

However, I might be “barking up the wrong tree” because the Facebook page of Radwan Mujib Siddiq, which generated a lot of sensible and helpful comments, also said that these open spaces may be owned by RAJUK. 

If that is true, then something needs to be done to sort it all out once and for all, because we all know how corrupt RAJUK has been over the years and still is.

A recent editorial in the Dhaka Tribune said: “More playgrounds are needed for children, and we hope the city authorities give it the attention and time necessary.” 

However, it is not clear at all where such space exists. It will be very good if children could enjoy the outdoors and learn more about nature rather than spending too much time on smartphones, computers, and television. 

Julian Francis has been associated with relief and development activities of Bangladesh since the War of Liberation. In 2012, the Government of Bangladesh awarded him the ‘Friends of Liberation War Honour’ in recognition of his work among the refugees in India in 1971 and in 2018 honoured him with full Bangladesh citizenship.