DSCC floats tender for cattle market next to COVID-19 hospital

Dhaka Mahanagar General Hospital
Dhaka Mahanagar General HospitalProthom Alo
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Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has floated a tender for a temporary cattle market ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha on the road in front of Dhaka Mahanagar General Hospital, a dedicated hospital for COVID-19 patients, in Naya Bazar of Old Dhaka.

Local people have become anxious about maintaining social distancing in the high-density area because of this. They said the cattle market could be extended up to the Armanitola playground, adjacent to the hospital. That is why they have called on the DSCC authorities to scrap the tender.

The authorities of Sir Salimullah Medical College and Mitford Hospital also have called on the authorities to scrap the decision to set up the temporary cattle market there for the sake of treatment of the coronavirus disease patients and for maintaining teaching-friendly environment.

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The 89-decimal ground is the property of Sir Salimullah Medical College and Mitford Hospital.

DSCC property division sources said the city corporation on 14 June published the tender notice for a temporary cattle market at the empty space by the Armanitola ground hoping to earn about Tk 16.5 million. But the notice did not say anything about maintaining social distancing nor did it mentioned about taking any extra measure considering the coronavirus situation. The tender will be finalised on 29 June. The Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated on 31 July or 1 August, depending on the sighting of moon.

A physician of the hospital, wishing anonymity, said traffic congestion on the road in front of the hospital is a common thing even on normal days. The activities of the hospital will be closed if the cattle market is allowed to sit

Speaking to Prothom Alo, chief property officer of DSCC Russell Sabrin said, the cattle market will be set up on empty spaces adjacent to the Armanitola ground.

But the Prothom Alo correspondent could not find any empty spaces except lanes and by-lanes in the area on Tuesday.

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Cattle market in front of dedicated hospital for COVID-19 patients

The 150-bed Dhaka Mahanagar General Hospital is a health facility of the DSCC. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on 30 April decided to treat coronavirus disease, COVID-19, patients at the hospital. Following this, all other patients were shifted to the Mitford Hospital. Currently, the Dhaka Mahanagar General Hospital is a dedicated hospital for COVID-19 patients, DSCC said.

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However, the Dhaka Mahanagar General Hospital authorities did not comment on setting up the cattle market near the hospital.

A physician of the hospital, wishing anonymity, said traffic congestion on the road in front of the hospital is a common thing even on normal days. The activities of the hospital will be closed if the cattle market is allowed to sit

He further said many patients left the hospital when the cattle market was allowed last year. The situation is different this year because of the coronavirus crisis. The market cannot be set up in any way near the hospital.

Apprehending that the market could be set up on Armanitola ground, an application has been sent to the DSCC mayor on 14 June to scrap the plan. Sir Salimullah Medical College and Mitford Hospital has also sent a letter separately on 20 June.

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Speaking to Prothom Alo, Sir Salimullah Medical College principal Uttam Kumar Paul said an unbearable traffic jam will be created in the area if the cattle market is allowed to sit on the road or the ground. This will hamper the hospital’s activities. Setting up the cattle market in the area would not be reasonable.

DSCC’s chief property officer Russell Sabrin said they would talk to the DGHS about maintaining health guidelines in the market before finalising the tender.

He, however, could not give an answer when asked why they did not talk to the health directorate before publishing the tender notice.

* The report has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza

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