The Financial Express

Beatification with bonsai

| Updated: October 24, 2017 04:36:24

Beatification with bonsai

It could be passed as the product or even an invention of a devil's workshop. Isn't an idle head a devil's workshop? But it's more than that. Beatification of the capital's Airport Road with bonsais certainly smacks of ingenuity. However it is an ingenuity of the bizarre type devoid of any aesthetic sense and taste. The idea comes straight from a devil's workshop --one that is not without an ulterior motive. To conceive that the visitors to this nation's capital will be given the first impression of a miniaturised sight created by a row of imported bonsais one has to be a super genius. However this is such a genius the nation, for understandable reasons, would be better off without. 
Bangladesh boasts a wide variety of botanical species of many sizes and shapes. The imported bonsais, on the other hand, are deliberately kept dwarfed by arduously pruning their branches and roots. The plants and bushes cannot achieve their natural growth as a result. The very idea is anti-Nature. How about maintaining stunted growth of the human species by adopting an artificial means? Then bonsais are meant for indoor decoration. Even those who are in favour of leaving, with meticulous efforts, plants and bushes so dwarfed are unlikely to approve those for beatification of roads, let alone the one of the highest significance. 
The authorities in this case have ignored the complaint by the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) against the plantation of bonsais, construction of a concrete wall and allowing billboards alongside the road. In reality, though, the DNCC should have been the rightful authority to take any decision on the beatification of the road concerned. Why should this segment of a road within the city limit be under the jurisdiction of the Roads and Highways Department? Understandably, the capital of Bangladesh does not enjoy the authority of city governance. But this does not mean, the entry road to the capital for foreigners should be out of its mandate.  
The governing motive of planting bonsais on the roadside and construction of a concrete wall, pavement and drainage all along the 6.6 kilometre-long stretch of road is unmistakeable. Had it been limited to pavement and drainage construction, no one had reasons to object to it. But in the name of beatification of the approach road, the airport and the city for domestic travellers and foreign travellers respectively, the RHD and the firm have invented the ploy of minting money. The bonsais have cost the country Tk 55 million. That the motive behind importing the bonsai plants has apparently been prompted by profit mongering mentality by creating an unnecessary, wasteful and bizarre need. Such a mentality should be totally discouraged because a lot of money has gone down the drain in this manner -ironically in the name of development. 
Usually urban planners, naturalists and people of great aesthetic sense are consulted before a decision on beautification of a road of such importance is taken. In this case, reportedly no such consultation was held. How outrageous! A subject of beatification is no monopoly of a firm with no credible legacy of the task. If it wanted to surprise people by something extraordinary, it has definitely been successful but only from a negative point of view. In countries where accountability is given the highest priority, the firm should have been tried for making a mockery of the beatification effort and heads at the RHD would have rolled for approving such an ugly and uninspiring project.  

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