A BLOT IN DHAKA’S GLORY

Garbage dumping rampant below Mayor Hanif Flyover


The median below the Mayor Hanif Flyover, a shining glory of the capital, is a source of disgust and suffering for thousands of commuters of the capital. Even though the people living in the south and south-eastern parts of the capital and the everyday commuters from the city outskirts and nearby districts are thankful that the flyover has eased traffic misery in the area to a large extent, there is a new nuisance: mindless dumping of garbage in the median below the flyover has turned the vicinity into an ugly scene.

 A major portion of the median strip is filled with heaps of garbage dumped by roadside stores and houses, which has not only painted a stain on the image of the neat and clean and well-maintained flyover but also has been polluting the environment It has become almost impossible for the commuters and locals to miss the overpowering stench emitted from the decomposing garbage.

Adding to the sufferings of the commuters, a major portion of road below and on the sides of the flyover is occupied by illegal grabbers, especially hawkers and influential people. In addition, there are a number of estables there to rear horses, disrupting vehicular movements. All this is happening unabated in the broad daylight as if there is none to look into the matter.

Experts compared the situation to darkness beneath the glow of thethe lamp. They claimed that the chaos and indecipline reigning on thestreet is willingly created to serve the vested interst of a tiny group of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) officials. Experts said officials of city corporationthe organisation responsible for maintanace jointly created such public suffering deliberately so that the flyover is used more thanthe road beneath it. If the plying of vehicles is increased on the flyover, the amount of toll collection will go up.

According to reputed urban planner Nazrul Islam, “The 11.7-km four-lane flyover was constructed with an aim to control traffic congestion and reduce the sufferings of commuters. But now, the road below the flyover has become a source of acute public sufferings due to anomalies and mismanagement on the part of the authorities concerned. Now one might wonder, ‘is it a structure or an obstacle!’”

During a visitto the spot on Tuesday, this correspondent found that numerous small and big potholes have vbeen created on the road from Fulbaria to Jatrabari. At places, some potholes have been filled up by locals. Many parts are filled with waste, while many other parts are being used as unauthorised parking lots for rickshaw-vans and motorized vehicles such as buses, trucks and pick-ups.

Hawkers were seen carrying on with their trade setting up over 200 makeshift shops here and there on the footpaths. Not only that, a crowd of drugpeddlers and addicts wasalso seen. Many floating people were also seen using the accumulated heap waste as open public toilet.The place has turned into a safe breeding ground of mosquitoes and other insects, posing health hazards.

This correspondent further found that homeless peoplehad taken shelter in theTikatuli area, near Rajdhani Super Market, under the flyover. Additionally, cages of chickens have occupied the road at Kaptan Bazar. Shops trading in shoes and fruit along with hotels have come up below the flyover along the Gulistan-Fulbaria part. A large part from Bangabazar to Nimtoli gate is being used to house estables for horse rearing. Bus drivers have set up a club under the flyover close to Fulbaria bus terminal. Thus the entire road has been rendered off limits to vehicular movement.

Locals have complained that they hardly find the cleaners of City Corporation making the road clean and usable, with the result that waste is piling up regularly. No one in the city corporation seems to be worried about it. According to the PPP, Orion Infrastructure Limited under supervision of DSCC constructed the largest flyover from Shanir Akhra to Bakshibazar. It was opened for vehicular movements in October 2013.

Although Orion Infrastructure Limited hasremained involved with operating and maintaining the road and flyover since the beginning, a powerful syndicate with links to the ruling party is allegedly busy in such activities asextortion and drug peddling in the area in full view of the law enforcement agencies. DSCC Mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon said, “We are working to free the road from grabbers and enhance its beauty. But it is very difficult to do so overnight.Political will is a must to fulfil our dream.”