AS if there is none to look after the Hatirjheel projeet, unauthorised billboards have sprung up around the lake area. These ungainly structures are not only spoiling the beauty of the entire scenic landscape, they are also defeating the very purpose of providing city's public with a space to breathe fresh air and soothe their tired eyes.
We may recall how all sections of society welcomed the highly commendable government effort to envision Hatirjjeel project as the lung of the city. It appears, within a mere 14 months of its launch, it has lost its core purpose.
How could such structures come up before the very eyes of the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and the Rajuk, whose job it is to protect the place from unauthorised encroachment and abuse? One fails to understand what is holding Rajuk or DNCC back from carrying out eviction drives to clear Hatirjheel of these illegal structures.
So, it is hardly surprising that, emboldened by their inaction, some 60 billboards have already been erected along the project area.
It is learnt that the Rajuk proposal for an independent management body to look after the project is yet to be finalised by the housing and public works ministry. Similar has been the fate of a Rajuk-initiated guideline for houses and structures within 300 metres of Hatirjheel to keep the project site environment-friendly and beautiful.
This is simply unacceptable. The government needs to put its foot down from the highest level. At the same time, we would urge it to take immediate steps to ban all kinds of billboards and structures to protect the beauty and environment of the Hatirjheel project.