Jatisangha Park decaying away
Jatisangha Park, one of the very few parks in the port city with free access, has been left in a sorry state for five years due to the authorities' negligence.
Located in Panchlaish residential area, the 55-year-old park has a long history and bears memories of residents' childhood and adolescence.
During a recent visit to the park, this correspondent found that there was no room for visitors to roam around or sit. For years, soil has been piled up for development, while the whole park is now full of bushes. Two staffers were seen in a dilapidated room at the entrance.
But it wasn't always like this. The park had a beautiful garden, which charmed visitors. There was a walkway around a waterbody, and seating arrangements surrounded an artificial lake even some 10 years ago.
The park was once abundant with trees, said Dipankar Barua, a local of Katalganj residential area. A beautiful pond enhanced the park's beauty, and there was a water tank there, in which fish swam around, captivating visitors.
But all these features are nowhere to be seen now. Public Works Department (PWD) established the park in 1964, to provide some open space for port city dwellers. The park was handed over to then Chittagong Municipal Corporation in 1969, and was named Jatisangha Park in 2002.
Locals alleged that the park lost its character when Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) initiated a project to build swimming pools there in 2012, in place of the waterbody and walkway.
The park was divided in half by a boundary wall to separate two swimming pools, built at a cost of Tk 4.80 crore, said Abdul Aziz, a local of Panchlaish area.
A teenager drowned in the swimming pool around that period, and since then, the pools have been left abandoned.
In 2016, CCC decided to lease out the park to a private organisation for 25 years, but locals and then housing minister opposed the initiative, said Khorshed Alam Sujan, a former CCC administrator.
"Mosharraf [then housing minister] was against the initiative. He said PWD would develop the park, so people would have open space to walk and pass their time," he said.
"The tug of war between CCC and PWD has left the park in a sorry state for around five years," he added. "When I was CCC administrator, I gave authority of the park to PWD last year."
PWD is going to develop the park.
Contacted, Rahul Guha, executive engineer of PWD, Chattogram (Div-1), said a development project proposal, with a budget of Tk 12.12 crore, was placed in a pre-Ecnec project evaluation committee meeting last month. The meeting approved the two-year project with some observations.
"We are working on the observation. We expect the revised project to be approved soon, and the work to start in six months," he said.