HC directive on Dhanmondi | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 14, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 14, 2012


HC directive on Dhanmondi

It should be effectively implemented

The High Court decision to declare illegal all commercial operations in Dhanmondi brings an old issue to the fore once again. For years, indeed decades together, the decline of Dhanmondi from a peaceful residential area to a chaotic commercial zone has gone on unabated, with sporadic warnings from the authorities that all commercial or business enterprises need to be moved out to other places. Nothing came of those efforts. And what has instead happened is a rapid turning over of Dhanmondi into a cacophony of shops, private schools, colleges and universities and even clinics and hospitals. What was once a region admired for its placidity and environmental beauty is today a story of the past.
Now that the HC has intervened in the matter following the filing of a writ petition asking the authorities to set a timeline for owners of the institutions involved to shift their operations elsewhere, the question is whether the job can be done. Almost every road and street in Dhanmondi is now cramped with such commercial establishments, with the result that the area goes through regular noise pollution and is also home to horrendous traffic congestions. Add to that the discomfiture of residents of the area, for it is they who have borne the brunt of all the changes that have been taking place. That said, there is the reality of these business enterprises, especially academic institutions, which have become an entrenched part of the area. To expect them to shift elsewhere soon would seem pretty unrealistic. However, as the HC directive in the case of a particular school shows, a time frame of perhaps three years or so should prove effective in resolving the issue. But that again depends on the sincerity of the owners of the institutions as well as of the city corporation authorities in ensuring that the HC orders are fully and systematically implemented. In a country where ignoring rules or blatantly violating them has become something of a norm, vigilance is what one needs to restore Dhanmondi, somewhat, to its former state.
We welcome the HC move. At the same time, we hope that in the not too distant future, action will be forthcoming on a restoration of the residential qualities of such areas as Gulshan and Banani.

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