A park plagued by renovation
When Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) inaugurated renovation work for the capital's Osmani Udyan back in January 2018, it had promised to complete it in 10 months.
Four years have gone by, but only 65 percent of the work has been completed. The deadline has been extended thrice, while costs kept escalating.
The first deadline was June 2019, the second June 2020, and third June 2021. And now, the deadline has been extended yet again, till June 2022.
Presently, DSCC is preparing a fresh tender for the work, as the previous contractor could not finish the job on time.
The city corporation canceled the contract with The Builders Engineers in August, as it failed to finish work despite repeated deadline extensions.
"We are preparing to give the work order to a new firm," said Project Director Munshi Md Abul Hasem. "A fresh tender is expected to be invited before the first week of December."
"We are hoping to complete it within the scheduled time. But the cost will remain the same," he claimed.
Nestled between the secretariat and Nagar Bhaban, the park is named after General Muahammad Ataul Gani Osmani, the commander-in-chief of Bangladesh forces during the Liberation War. It is divided into 11 sectors, as a tribute to the country's forces that were divided into 11 divisions.
The 29-acre green sanctuary has a number of rare trees and plants of different shapes and sizes, two small lakes and islands made of sand along with walkways, sculptures, and an auditorium.
One of its major attractions is the Mughal-era cannon "Bibi Mariam", which was commissioned by Emperor Aurangzeb's trusted general Mir Jumla II to protect Dhaka -- the 17th-century capital of Bengal -- from raids by bandits.
According to the city corporation, at first, the project deadline got extended in 2019 and the cost escalated from Tk 54 crore to Tk 89 crore for additional work like setting up food courts, a museum, library and better drainage system.
Then last year, DSCC Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said they will set up an underground parking space inside the park, which will be able to accommodate around 200 cars. However, DSCC has cancelled that plan.
Architect Rafiq Azam, principal designer of the project, said they have
completed all procedures on their part to call for a new tender.
"We have cancelled a library from the design, and no parking will be constructed," he said.
It is very important to make the park useful for the people. It was not used properly earlier, as it was occupied by vagabonds and those who abused drugs, said Azam.
Earlier in February, Ariful Haque, executive director of The Builders Engineers, told The Daily Star that they were not solely responsible for the delay, rather it was a collective failure.
"The structural part of a project is more challenging than the architectural portion. Besides, the pandemic has also slowed down our work progress," Ariful had said.