Bhawal Park loses attractiveness for lack of maintenance
SREEPUR, GAZIPUR, Nov 10: The Bhawal National Park is losing attraction gradually for lack of maintenance.
Earlier it was Bhawal Shalban Udyan which was formed on 5,022 hectares of land in Sadar and Sreepur upazilas of the district in 1974. Later, it got the status of the national park in 1982.
But the park is losing visitors day by day. There is no step to regain its past attraction whereas various private recreation centres were set up outside the park, and a good number of visitors come to that centres regularly.
Forest Department sources said even some years back, the park was a popular recreation centre. It has the capacity to hold more than one lakh visitors at a time. There are thousands of shal trees and a six-kilometre long lake at the ark. The government used to earn huge revenue from it. The department leases the park every year. During 2007-08 fiscal year, the lease exceeded Taka 1 crore.
As several other recreation centres have been set up, the visitors are losing interest in the Bhawal National Park, and the government is also losing revenue. It was leased at Taka 65 lakh in 2014-15 fiscal year, Taka 16 lakh in 2015-16 fiscal, and Taka 11 lakh in 2016-17 fiscal, which shows a downward trend. If proper plans could be taken, the park could regain its past glory.
Local sources said the main problem in the park is lack of security. A boundary could not be erected around the entire park. Besides, the children's recreation centre is in poor state. The park has become a grazing land of local cowboys and their cattle. Besides, drug takers and muggers have worsened the environment.
In this connection, founder and principal of Iqbal Siddiqi College in Gazipur Iqbal Siddiqi said, "The Bhawal National Park has been carrying the pride of our area for long. Once, the park was abuzz with numerous visitors round the year. Due to lack of management, the park is losing attraction. But, if steps are taken, it can regain its past glory."
The park's lessee Ainal Ahmed said, "I have been running the park with great hope since 2014-15. The present situation can't meet the visitors' demand. As the number of visitors reduced in last three years, I had to incur loss, and so I did not take its lease again. Though there are many structures in the park, those have become unusable for lack of maintenance. The only child recreation centre is also abandoned. If the government does not take proper step, it will become extinct."
Park Beat Officer of the Forest Department Abul Hashem said, "It is necessary to set up boundary around the park. A proposal was sent to higher authority asking for its modernisation in June of 2017. We hope that the renovation work will start soon."
Deputy Commissioner Dr Dewan Mohammad Humayun Kabir said the park is losing attraction for various problems. The government is taking steps to renovate it. After implementing those, the park will gain momentum again.