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Company Bagan

Company Bagan was built by the nawabs of Dhaka on the western side of dilkusha and bangabhaban. The garden spread over the area of the present day Motiur Shishu Park, the Stadium, Baitul Mukarram, GPO and adjacent areas. In these areas, Paltan was a cantonment of east india company. In 1840, the cantonment was shifted and the area came under the control of Dhaka Municipality. In 1874 khwaja ahsanullah, nawab of Dhaka, got permission from the governor of Bengal to establish a garden at Paltan. For that purpose the nawab took lease of 97 bighas of land in 1876 and 99 bighas in 1877 from Dhaka Municipality. He cleared the woods of the area and turned it into a beautiful garden by planting various species of plants. The garden came to be known as Company Garden because of the earlier location of the cantonment of the Company. According to the terms and conditions of the lease agreement, the garden was kept open for the public twice a week. In 1899, this was extended to three days a week from 3 pm to 7 pm. In 1880, Nawab Ahsanullah was given more lands for laying footpaths beside the garden.

After the shifting of the cantonment, the Purana Paltan area became desolate and soon the outskirt of the Company Garden became a jungle. On 14 July 1888, Nawab Ahsanullah got approval from the Municipality to develop the adjacent areas of the garden. The area was soon transformed into a wide terrain by cleaning the copses and filling low-lying areas. Consequently, the environment of the Company Garden improved. One piece of land of this area was used as a playground. Different species of fruit plants were also planted in the Company Garden. Often the Nawab Estate leased the fruit trees out. Inside the garden there was a one-storied building named Cha-Khana of the nawabs of Dhaka. In 1905, when Dhaka became the capital of East Bengal and Assam, the government took permanent lease of the southern side of Company Garden and Dilkusha Garden of the Nawabs in order to build Government Offices and Courts. During the fall of the Nawabs, Company Garden lost its lustre due to lack of maintenance. Parts of the garden were sold off in course of time. Later, various institutions were set up in almost all areas of the Company Garden, during 1960s a part was named 'Ayub Children Park'. Now it is known as 'Matiur Children Park'. [Mohammad Alamgir]