In 2012, the government undertook an initiative to build Shaheed Sheikh Russell Children's Park next to the Kalabagan playground under the Dhanmondi Lake development project in the capital.
Its structural design aimed at developing a natural butterfly sanctuary. Eventually, it became known as Butterfly Park after construction ended in May 2014.
The park was then leased out to a person for three years. But the park was anything but a sanctuary of butterflies because – as urban planners had pointed out – the insects are found in quiet places.
There was a major road next to the park and there was noise for 24 hours.
Soon visitors lost interest in the park and the lessee closed it eventually.
Butterflies would have come here had the park been developed inside the Dhanmondi Lake using the same design, urban planners had said.
Later, its equipment started to be stolen. And at one point, it turned into a safe haven for drug addicts.
In 2017, the Dhaka South City Corporation planned to reopen the park and its reconstruction started at the beginning of 2018 and ended last year.
Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh inaugurated the reconstructed Park on 3 November last year.
However, more than three months after the inauguration, the Dhaka South City Corporation has not yet opened the park to the public.
During a visit, this correspondent saw various types of rides have been set up inside the Sheikh Russell Shishu Park for children and adolescents to play. Grasses have been planted in the middle after setting up a walkway around the park.
Besides, a fence using nets has been set up on the boundary wall around the park.
Locals fear it will become a haven for drug addicts as before if the authorities make further delays in opening the park.
Abdul Awal, a resident of Kalabagan, told The Business Standard, "We do not go to any faraway places with little children due to the coronavirus pandemic. If the park is open, we can come here with children in our spare time. But no one cares whether it will remain the same year after year or open."
He said there is a secondary garbage transfer station next to the park. Here waste collection vehicles are parked in a scattered way. As a result, the stench spreads in the park too. No one can visit the park unless it is controlled.
Asked about this, Mithun Chandra Sheel, executive engineer of the South City Corporation, told TBS, "We have carried out the construction of Sheikh Russell Shishu Park. After finishing the work a few months ago, we handed it over to the asset management department of the city corporation. Now we are not aware of what they have planned for this park."
Regarding the secondary transfer station, he said the work of the garbage process is done at night.
"Garbage trucks come at night and the park will be used during the day. So, it will not be a problem for the visitors," added the executive engineer.
Rafiqul Islam Babla, Councillor for Ward No. 15 of the South City Corporation, who has been supervising the construction, told TBS, "We have not yet opened the park as the construction has not been completed."
"There are some more items left to make for the children and we will open it when the work is finished," he added.