For about four years while the construction of the Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover was going on, residents of the city suffered through hours of traffic gridlocks, bumpy rides on submerged or pothole-riddled road below it, and severe air and noise pollution,
Locals breathed a sigh of relief after the much-awaited flyover, 8.7-kilometre-long, was made open to public in October, 2017. Even though they are thankful that the flyover has eased traffic misery in the area to some extent, there is a new nuisance: mindless dumping of garbage in the median below has turned the vicinity into an ugly scene.
At places, the median strip is seen filled with heaps of garbage dumped by roadside stores and houses, while parts of it are occupied by homeless people. It's impossible to miss the overpowering stench emitting from the decomposing garbage.
College student Russell Zaman, who commutes regularly on the route, said: “The flyover above is quite clean, but the median right below is a disgusting sight.”
“It's almost been a year since the flyover was completed. But underneath, there's trash all around. It looks so revolting, but it seems that there's no one responsible to keep the area clean,” said Sayeda Jahan, 45, a resident of the area.
Some traders also keep broiler chicken in numerous coops under the flyover. Faeces from the chicken are also contributing to the foul odour and pollution.
“Chicken vendors are polluting the area underneath the flyover during the daytime. The smell remains in the area even after it is cleaned by workers of the city corporation,” said a local, preferring not to be named.
There are multiple dumpsters underneath the flyover as well, but those were also seen overflowing.
During a recent visit to the area, in Ward 35 of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), this correspondent came across a makeshift office where cleaners of DNCC store their cleaning utensils.
When asked about the sorry state of the median below the flyover, cleaner Mohammad Faruk said, “We collect garbage from under the flyover as much as we can every day. But people from both sides of the road keep on dumping waste there.”
Faruk's claim proved to be true as the correspondent witnessed a storekeeper dumping trash in the median strip. Asked why he was doing that, he sheepishly responded: “The place is already dirty. So, we often throw our garbage there.”
Contacted over phone about the matter, local DNCC Councillor MD Mokhtar Sardar said, “The Public Works Department handed over the flyover to the mayor [of DNCC] only a couple of days before the parliamentary election [December 30]. The mayor is yet to hand it over to us. Once he hands it over to us, we'll be able to take necessary steps.”
Talking to this newspaper, DNCC's Zonal Executive Officer (Zone-3) Hemayet Hossain said, “The flyover isn't our responsibility. The local government body is responsible for it. However, if the area below the flyover is dirty, we'll clean it up.”
Dumping of garbage is rampant below other flyovers in the city, including Mayor Hanif and Khilgaon flyovers, and those areas also deserve immediate attention of authorities, said many city residents.