Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakhha began an eviction drive on Monday to demolish Wonderland amusement park at Gulshan in the capital.
Tearing down the main entrance to the amusement park, Rajuk started the drive, led by magistrate Rokon-ud-Doula, following a court order that declared illegal the lease of the land by the erstwhile Dhaka City Corporation on which the park was built.
‘We have begun demolishing the park, as the land belongs to the erstwhile Dhaka City Corporation and the Supreme Court has declared the establishment illegal on this land,’ said Rajuk magistrate Rokon-ud-Doula.
He told New Age, ‘Though Rajuk is supposed to remove the entire commercial set up of Wonderland to make the playground open to public, the authorities decided to give the park authorities a two-day time to remove heavy and expensive rides and equipment inside the park.’
Though the then Dhaka City Corporation mayor in 1990 was officially entrusted to take care of the playground, he leased out the said portion of the Gulshan Central Playground to develop the commercial amusement park, he said.
He said that the park authorities were supposed to renew the lease but they did not do it.
A High Court bench on May 24, 2007, in response to a public interest litigation, ordered the authorities of Wonderland to remove all its establishments in six months.
A vacation chamber judge, however, stayed the order till July 26, 2007 with the appeal petition pending with the appellate division.
Another HC bench later asked Rajuk to find an alternative site for Wonderland before eviction.
The appellate division finally cleared the HC order making way for eviction, said the Rajuk magistrate, adding that in 2009 Rajuk had notified the park authorities about eviction.
Wonderland Amusement Park managing director M Mustafizur Rahman, however, said, ‘We have several times requested the court to allot an alternative land for the park and we applied many times for the renewal but they did not respond.’
He said, ‘Rajuk got no eviction order. Petitioner’s lawyer gave his opinion that Rajuk can evict and according to his opinion Rajuk is conducting the drive.’
Mustafizur claimed that the city development agency did not notify them before the drive.
The park was built occupying around a four acres of land of the Gulshan Central Playground which had 120 games for kids and cost more than Tk 150 crore, he informed.
Rajuk executive engineer Nurul Islam told New Age that they had launched the drive following a May 3 order of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
He said, ‘We will knock down the heavily-built entry gates and boundary wall of the park with two bulldozers and more than 30 labourers will be backed up by around 100 riot police for the drive.’
An owner of a ride ‘Rocket Rider’, AKM Rahamatullah said, ‘This is just stupidity to destroy a high technical rider of an amusement park, which was built for kids with all love and emotion to give them some refreshment.’
The ride cost Tk 1 crore and it is 64 feet in height and in one jet eight children can sit, he said.
The demolition of the park thundered many city dwellers and kids like Labanya Faria, who came with her three daughters to have some refreshment.
Labanya, who lives at Banani, said, ‘We are here as my kids love this place and as their exam has ended but it is very shocking for them and to me too to see such a wonderful place demolished in such way.’
The owner of this park has seven parks for kids across the country, informed the park officials.
-With New Age input