Architects, environmentalists ask govt, suggest relocation of military sites from city
The air force’s pressure to realign the proposed metro rail route through Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban premises is not acceptable, leading architects and city planners said at a media briefing in the capital yesterday.
They instead demanded relocation of all military installations from the core of the capital to make way for solutions to Dhaka’s transport problems, and planned urban development.
The Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) jointly organsied the briefing at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.
The experts condemned the air force’s suggestion, as it will deface the masterpiece of Louis I Kahn, a maestro of world architecture. No encroachment on the master plan of Sangsad Bhaban, an architectural marvel, will be accepted, they said.
Sangsad is the symbol of sovereignty and the people’s power; they said adding that a suggestion for an onslaught on its master plan for the sake of an abandoned airport is impudent.
Bangladesh Air Force objected to the metro rail’s current proposed route along Bijoy Sarani and suggested realignment along Sangsad Avenue through Khamarbari, encroaching about 55 metres of the Sangsad complex.
The air force is claiming that a metro rail route along Bijoy Sarani will hinder air operations at Tejgaon airfield.
Prof Sarwar Jahan, president of BIP, said the argument is unfounded, the air force apparently has a commercial motive to hold on to the old airport land.
“Dhaka’s horrendous transport problem will not be permanently solved unless Tejgaon airfield, Dhaka Cantonment, and the headquarters of Border Guard Bangladesh and navy are relocated from the city’s core area,” he said.
Mubasshar Hussein, president of IAB, said according to a High Court order, Louis Kahn’s Sangsad Bhaban layout cannot be altered.
Tejgaon airstrip is an abandoned airfield that should be turned into a civic centre with various recreational facilities and open space for the city dwellers, he said.
Prof Muntasir Mamun, a widely quoted author on Dhaka’s history, said all military installations within the capital must be relocated in public interest and safety.
“A government elected by the people should not be subservient to the armed forces in fear of any kind,” he said.
Architect Iqbal Habib, member secretary of Bapa, moderated the briefing.
-With The Daily Star input