The boundary wall of the Observation Tower of the Lalbagh Fort, built in the 17th century, is now under threat as portions of the plaster and bricks of the Mughal era are falling off due to constant scratching by four-wheeler human haulers.
The motorised haulers, each has two iron sheets, as foot stands, at the rear end and also two iron-made bumpers on the front, repeatedly hit and scratch the wall everyday as they jostle among themselves to park and start moving.
Following regular strikes, a moat has been created on the wall measuring about half to two inches in depth, one yard in width and 50 yards in length.
The trench was found from the Observation Tower adjacent to Sylhet Hotel at JN Shah Road to Masum Freeze Air-condition Repairing Shop at Kazi Riaz Uddin Road.
The inside portion of the wall was also found dilapidated owing to peeling off of plaster and chipping of bricks in the absence of repair work since long.
A human-hauler driver, wishing not be named, told the Daily Observer that about 65 passenger carrying four wheelers used the area also known as Kellar Moor as a Tempo Stand under control of Delwar Hossain Miah, a councillor candidate with Top as his election symbol from Ward-24 under Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
Another driver said that toll collection from the human-haulers is estimated to be about Tk 15,000 per day. Some local goons have lost their lives in their attempt to dominate the Tempo Stand in the last 30 years.
A cross section of locals told this correspondent that the wall might collapse any day if the onslaught on the Mughal edifice continues.
A man, who is running a pharmacy there, said that earlier two DCC garbage containers were placed against the wall protecting it from the invasion of the human-haulers. "Back then passengers suffered from the bad odour of the garbage and they were forced to cover their nose and mouth with handkerchiefs to save themselves from the stink," he said.
"Now, the condition of the wall is worsening day by day. I think it is under threat of collapse. Measures should be taken immediately to stop further eroding of the historic structure," he said.
Another man said that it is not possible to remove the Tempo Stand considering the convenience of the commuters. But a fence made of iron sheets should be set up there to protect the tower and its wall.
Sultana Zakia Bedowra, Custodian Officer of Lalbagh Fort, told this correspondent that she had to struggle a lot to remove the two garbage containers, which remained there for the last 22 years.
She, however, admitted the risky condition of the wall and said that it was difficult to do anything instantly.
"We have sent a letter to the Archaeology Directorate in this regard. If the work is taken up we will be able to solve the problem soon," she said.
The construction work of the Lalbagh Fort began in 1677 under the direction of Prince Mohammed Azam, the third son of Emperor Aurangzeb, although he handed it to Shaista Khan for completion.