Two years have passed by and the Dhanmondi playground has not seen any kids running across.
But the last afternoon was very special for many youngsters in the area as they were allowed into the field and play games. It was sheer jubilation for the children.
The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) opened the playground to public yesterday. In a notice put up at the entrance to the field, the corporation announced that the ground was open to public.
As the news spread fast, local children and youths went to the field in Road-8 of Dhanmondi to play, while some curious passersby peeped to see the sporting action.
The notice served by an executive magistrate of the corporation makes it clear that entry to the playground is open from now on, DSCC Chief Executive Officer Ansar Ali Khan told The Daily Star.
A previous notice of the corporation had made the field off limits to public on the plea of an ongoing construction work, which created confusion among commoners, he added.
“The latest notice will end the confusion. Any attempt to obstruct people from entering the playground will be treated as an offence,” mentioned Ali.
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, a limited company, has been illegally occupying the playground with half a dozen unauthorised structures, said leading architect Mobassher Hossain, who has been a crusader against illegal occupation of the playground since 2004. A couple of years ago, the club made the field an exclusive zone for its members.
Visiting the area yesterday afternoon, this correspondent found that the huge iron gate of the field was open wide, while at least 100 children and youths were playing there merrily.
A seventh-grader at New Model High School, Nayan Hawlader said he went to the field to play after two years as the club owners barred people from entering the field.
“Finding no other sporting opportunity, I used to play in the lanes of my locality and in small yards of my neighbours' houses,” mentioned Nayon, a resident of Kalabagan.
Idris Ali, a local youth, said he grew up in the area playing on the ground. “I started for the field as soon as I saw a news ticker on a TV channel announcing that the playground has been open to public,” he added.
Meanwhile, a patrol team of Rapid Action Battalion-2 arrived at the entrance to the field by a patrol car (Dhaka Metro-M 1409). A member of the team called Md Shafiar, on-duty private security personnel of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, and enquired him about the status of the field. The lawman instructed him, “Just call us in case of any trouble.”
Mobassher, however, said they were waiting for removal of illegal structures from the playground.
The High Court in 2011 had ordered the then Dhaka City Corporation, police and public works ministry to open the playground to public and remove all illegal structures from there.
On April 18, the club sued three eminent green activists Mobassher Hossain, Bapa Joint Secretary Iqbal Habib, architect Salma A Shafi and national award winner sports organiser Quamrunnahar Dana for entering into the playground.