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         Volume 10 |Issue 46 | December 09, 2011 |


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The noise of steel and concrete are constant aberrations of residential areas. Photo: Star File

Construction Site Sleepless Night

Morshed Ali Khan

The clock had stuck 11-30 PM. Zeenat sat on her desk and concentrated hard on her studies for the A Level exams. Suddenly the silence was broken in this Dhanmondi neighbourhood. Two huge engines revved up from the next door construction site without any warning. The earth shook and the windows vibrated. The noise became deafening. Neighbours from the adjacent flats rushed to their balconies to find the source of the noise. By now the entire family had woken up to realise that the noise could not be stopped until some action was taken.

Zeenat's neighbours called up the police station. “The best bet would be to come into some understanding with the developer,” replied the officer over phone, “We are sending our force, but we know from our experience that this could not be stopped for long.”

That night, the noise was eventually stopped at around 2 am.

For the residents in the neighbourhood the nightmare had just started. The following day, Zeenat's father received a call from the big man– a representative of the developer. “We need to talk to you,” he said firmly keeping his tone polite, “It is urgent and very, very important.”

“Yes, but who gave you my phone number? asked Zeenat's puzzled father.

“The police,” replied the man.

The announcement the developer made to the insomniac residents was distressing enough. “The excavation work has to continue at night because trucks are only allowed to ply the city streets after 10 pm,” said the man,

Photo: Star File

“The huge volume of earth dug out from the proposed basement area of the 12-story building must be removed at night over the next one month. There is no alternative. We have completed over 20 sites in the similar way.”

The residents were stunned. This could not happen. There had to be a law to stop this operation that continued throughout the night with such deafening noise. The law of the land could never support such a nuisance. But as time passed, the more helpless they realised they were.

The roads near the site through which these trucks carry earth every night are already covered with earth falling off the defiant operator's vehicle. With vehicular movements during day time, these clusters of earth on the road become dusty and, smog covers the area, exposing everyone to breathing problems.

The noise pollution law and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Act have banned such practices. But what happens to the investor – the developer? He has to make his basement and remove the earth. If he digs during daytime, he would have to load the trucks at night, which again would generate the same noise with his excavators. What is the solution? Do it manually and it would take months.

In fact, the solution lies with the developer. The only thing he has to do is to organise an alternative earth removal vehicle which is permissible during day time and let the neighbours have one of humankind's basic rights — the right to sleep.


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