Public passages at national stadium 'leased out'
The proliferation of commercial activities is blamed on a shady dealing between a certain quarter of the NSC and the stadium business group
Almost all entryways to the playground and galleries of the Bangabandhu National Stadium have been leased or occupied by traders, evidently with a go-ahead of the National Sports Council (NSC).
Each entry passage leading to the playground has been divided into two parts to house small shops on both sides, almost blocking the way in.
The space at the base of 21 entries to the galleries has been 'rented out' to the traders who filled their places with cartons, keeping only a small approaching space and the staircases aside for entry.
"This deplorable state of the stadium, meant to serve as a centre of pure sports amusement, is because of the commercial frenzy of the authorities who turned the outer front of the stadium into a business hub," a source said.
The proliferation of commercial activities is blamed on a shady dealing between a certain quarter of the NSC and the stadium business group.
The gate Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 21 of the 21 entries are meant for VIPs and NSC officials, four entryways lead to the playground and 13 to the general galleries. But a number of gates have been closed to construct commercial shops.
The original plan of the stadium had two players' lounges close to the gate No. 1, which too have been converted into shops, sources said.
Beside the stairs to the Bangladesh Football Federation office stands the shop No. 83/A, spoiling the elegant look of the office and causing inconvenience to the officials.
The electronics shop Nos. 94 and 94/A are sandwiched between the demarcated sides of a passageway to the playground. The shop No. 98 has placed its signboard on the gate of another entryway and the shop No. 98/A has found its place on the other side. Both staircases of a first-floor entry are occupied by the shop Nos. 30 and 30/A.
"The stadium suffered the worst assaults on its original architectural features in 1980 to 1990 in the name of facelift by a vested quarter," said one of the eminent sports organisers seeking anonymity.
Gross irregularity marked renovation work: renovations were carried out to eastern and western galleries without floating tender, he added.
About the allegation, NSC Director (planning) Engineer Nurul Huq Pradhan said, "As far as I am concerned, nothing like that happened. I don't know what happened before."
But a NSC source seeking not to be named alleged that structural alteration continued from 1983 to 1990 when "both Pradhan and Director (administration) Enam had worked in close association with the then NSC chairman".
As part of structural alteration in 1984, public toilets along the entryways were demolished to give place to commercial shops in the name of cleanliness and enhancing NSC revenues.
On the lease of entryways, Enam said, "You better talk to the director (planning)."
Pradhan said, "The space has not been leased out the way the traders are occupying it and doing business."
Replying to why the NSC did not take administrative action, the director (planning) said the NSC administrative department executes the task.
A judicial probe committee headed by Justice Wadud Chowdhury, recommended punitive measures, including termination or transfer, against four NSC officials in 1991. Pradhan and Enam were among the officials charged with graft.
Both were transferred to Bangladesh Krira Shikhya Pratisthan (BKSP) the same year and served there until 1996 before they were fired on corruption charges in 1999.
But they were reinstated in the service in 2001 and posted back to the NSC after the four-party alliance came to power.
[Edited on 15-10-2003 by Rajputro : Fixed Image Tag]