As in the previous Eid-ul-Fitr, parks and other amusement corners in Chattogram are going to miss another festival rush due to the pandemic led-closure
For Foy's Lake Complex, Eid meant a huge crowd and an income of around Tk2.40 crore in just ten days. However, in an unprecedented turn of events due to the coronavirus pandemic, the amusement facility is now bracing for another big loss in the upcoming Eid.
Instead of Eid-centric income, the park in the port city Chattogram is now struggling with Tk48 lakh maintenance cost including staff salary per month. And the loss keeps mounting as the closure prolongs.
Like Foy's Lake –one of the main tourist spots in the port city – other amusement concerns in the port city stare at a bleak future as the virus keeps continuing its round-ups with no sign of stopping.
Amusement spots like Chattogram Zoo, Swadhinata Complex (also known as mini-Bangladesh), Patenga Sea Beach, Kazir Dewri Shishu Park, Agrabad Shishu Park and Butterfly Park said they have been incurring unprecedented losses due to the pandemic with no decision of reopening anytime soon.
Earlier, the Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) had issued a circular banning gatherings at the amusement areas.
Foy's Lake Complex operator Concord Entertainment's Deputy Manager (Marketing) Bishwajit Ghosh said Foy's Lake Amusement Park, Sea World and Sea Resort used to get at least 50,000 visitors in ten days during Eid-ul-Adha.
"We have been closed since March 19. The pandemic has devastated everything for us," he added.
Sohrab Hossain, the manager of Kazir Dewri Shishu Park told The Business Standard that their park has been shuttered since May 21.
"Our park was closed during the last Eid-ul-Fitr. We hoped the government would allow us to reopen in the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha, but that did not happen," he sounded very upset.
Sohrab said they used to get at least 15,000 visitors in seven days over the Eid, and their loss due to the virus-led closure is around Tk14 lakh per month.
Bahaddarhat Swadhinata Complex, which has been closed since March 18, used to get 4,000 Eid holidaymakers per day.
Director of the park Md Moksud Ali said they took the park on annual lease of Tk2.50 crore from the government. "We have lost Tk25 lakh Eid income and are hardly likely to retrieve anything from our investment," he added.
Chattogram City Corporation estate officer Ekhlas Uddin Ahmed said Agrabad Shishu Park has been shuttered since March 25. The park used to earn Tk1.60 lakh per month from lease, and was a popular destination for 5,000 visitors every Eid.
Meantime, the visitors are also upset since the leisure spots are off-limits for them. Hoping for a reopening of the amusement zones, they said they had planned visits to the spots during the Eid holidays.
Chattogram resident Ariful Islam said, "The kids have been confined to home for a long time due to the virus spread. We planned to visit Patenga Sea Beach and Foy's Lake during the upcoming Eid. But that is not possible as the spots are not reopening."
Patenga Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Jobair Syed said the CMP has clear instructions to keep amusement spots closed in the upcoming Eid, and not allow people to gather at Patenga beach during the Eid holidays.