Locals and children residing in Dholpur, West Jatrabari and Maniknagar areas of the capital have been denied access to Golapbag playground for the last 14 years.
Children have been deprived of their right to play for a long period of time while elderly people and patients cannot enjoy having a walk there.Orion Group used the playground during the construction of Mayor Mohammad Hanif flyover from May 2005 to October 2016, which left playground in its worst shape.
Now, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) authority seems to follow suit, as it has erected a fence around the playground in 2017 under the development project Jol Shobuje Dhaka which is still underway.
The DSCC has already missed the deadline to complete the project work for three times and they are all set to miss another deadline of June 2019, sources said.
During a visit there on 13 May, this correspondent found that only a handful of work has been complete.
This correspondent also found that only five to six labourers are working on the playground. Engineers of UDC Construction Ltd that got the contract of the work refused to make any comment about pace of the work.
DSCC additional chief engineer Md Asaduzzaman, also the project director, however, said, “We have taken the matter seriously. We’ll complete the project and hand over the playground to locals.“We have been carrying out the development work facing many challenges from vested interests.”
Sub Assistant Engineer of DSCC Zone-5 Alamgir Hossain said under the project, DSCC will build a two-storey commercial building with a gymnasium, VIP gallery and office room. There will also be arrangements for cricket, football, volleyball and basketball and skating in the playground having 4.5 acres of land, he said.
Besides, there will be a play zone for kids in the north side of the playground and walkways on two sides. A library and two public toilets will be built on the playground.
Hasnat Jubair, a local youth and president of Golapbag Math Rokkha Andolon, said that residents of the areas, especially children, are eagerly waiting for the playground to open.
He said they have waged movements on many occasions to free the playground of illegal use, but they are still struggling to take back their rights to have a walk, play and enjoy themselves in the playground.
“We are monitoring the activities of the contract winner and DSCC. Only a few workers are working every day but when high officials visit the spot, they raise the number all of a sudden.”
Md Asif Khan Santo, a tenth grader of Ramakrishna Mission High School who resides a few yards away from the playground, said, “I can’t recall when I last played in the playground. I want to play there and demand the development work be done within a short time.”