Miscreants rule open spaces beneath flyovers?
Sanwar Hossain :
WHOSE JOB IS MAINTAINING THESE OPEN SPACES BENEATH FLYOVERS? The pictures (clockwise) taken on Saturday show a mango market illegally sprang up, three persons including a woman taking drugs, a man urinating and garbages piled up on the open spaces beneath
The open spaces beneath the city's flyovers that remain uncared and abandoned for long have now turned into waste dumping zones, toilets, storage of businesses and a den of drug addicts and vagabonds, thanks to the apathy of the authorities concerned.
The situation is the same in the five flyovers - Khilgaon Flyover, Kuril Flyover, Mohakhali Flyover, Maghbazar Flyover and Mayor Hanif Flyover.
While visiting these spaces, this correspondent found some makeshift markets selling tea to chicken, fish to fruit and food. These have become a safe zone for drug addicts and miscreants as well, who help grow anti-social, criminal activities.
Jamil Siddique, a resident of East Jatrabari area, complained about different incidents like hijacking along with anti-social activities carried by the miscreants, drug addicts and roaming vagabonds taking shelter beneath the Hanif Flyover. "Some miscreants taking shelter on the open space beneath the flyover take drugs openly, which is degrading social values among the youths in our area. The open space is also a home to poor people who lead a miserable life and burn flamable items, causing serious air pollution," Jamil claimed.
He also said these vagabonds often go for hijacking, steal valuables from the adjacent homes. The authorities should take care of such spaces and drive those miscreants out of the area and secure public safety, he suggested.
President of Bangladesh Institute of Planners Professor Dr A k Abul Kalam told the New Nation that the city corporations should address the issue and take immediate action for beautification and alternative usage of open spaces beneath the flyovers.
"City spaces are costly and limited, in this situation, if the authorities leave these spaces abandoned for long, it is usual that it will be grabbed illegally and dumped heavily. Marginal people will be interested to grab those," Kalam said.
When contracted, Public Relations Officer Naif Uddin Khan of Orion Group, the firm that constructed the Hanif Flyover, told the New Nation that the maintenance of the space beneath the flyover is not their responsibility anymore. Now the responsibility lies with the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), he added.
"Earlier we had started the beautification of such spaces but massive dumping and security issues have made it different to start. It required extra attention to protect those spaces from encroachment. The DSCC is now taking care of such space," said Naif.
Chief Urban Planner of DSCC Md Sirajul Islam told the New Nation that they had chalked out a master plan for the space beneath Mayor Mohammad Hanif Flyover, especially.
"The master plan is not considering vegetation for the space rather it is considering alternative utilisation and security issues for the public safety. We have submitted recently the design to the Engineering Department of DSCC for its implementation," said Islam.
DSCC Chief Engineer Farazi Shahbuddin Ahmed has confirmed that they have received the master plan and sought allocation of fund.
"The master plan will be implemented in the 2017-18 fiscal," said Ahmed.
"The space beneath the flyover will be utilized," Ahmed asserted.
On the other hand, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has evicted all the establishments beneath the Mohakhali Flyover. The DNCC has taken up a beautification project where they have filled it with soil and erected iron fence for further beautification works.
When contacted, Dr. Tariq bin Yusuf, the Suprintendent Engineer, Climate and Disaster Management Circle of DNCC, told the New Nation: " We will finish the partial beautification of the space by next week".
The DNCC has evicted all illegal establishments from there, he added.