Evicted vendors return to capital’s sidewalks, streets

Rashad Ahamad | Published: 00:47, Jun 19,2017 | Updated: 00:53, Jun 19,2017

 
 

Left, vendors set up shops on a footpath in front of a police box at Gulistan; and, right, footpaths on both side of a road in front of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque are occupied by shops. The photos were taken in the capital on Sunday. — Sanaul Haque

Vendors evicted from the capital’s streets and footpaths six months back have returned ahead of EID.
Gulistan, Motijheel, Paltan and other areas of the city six months ago, have come back to the places again ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Allegations are there that the vendors made the comeback with support from a section of police officials and local leaders of ruling Awami League.
Allegations are also there that the vendors bought their right to do business in the Eid market only after agreeing to pay three times the illegal tolls.
Many vendors said that the same toll collectors agreed to allow them to do business from morning to night against payment of three times the illegal toll.
The vendors’ return has increased traffic congestions in the capital.
Since January15, the Dhaka South City Corporation made the streets and the footpaths at Motijheel, Gulistan and Paltan, all busy areas, off limits for the vendors during the office hours.
DSCC took the step after holding a joint meeting with vendors, the police, ward councilors and home ministry officials.
The arrangement had, however, permitted vendors to carry out their business only on the footpaths after 6.30Pm on working days.
During visits to various places in the capital, New Age saw hawkers have reopened their stalls on the footpaths blocking pedestrians’ movement on busy areas like Motijheel Commercial Area, Baitul Mokarram, Gulistan, GPO, stadium, Golapshah Majar, Fulbaria and around the Ramna Bhaban.
Many vendors also blocked parts of busy streets including at Gulistan to run their businesses.
They said, now each vendor has to pay Tk300 per day to the toll collectors up from Tk 100 to get their business rights.
Bangladesh Hawkers League and Bangladesh Hawkers Federation president MA Kashem, also DSCC hawker rehabilitation committee member said vendors’ businesses on the footpaths would not stop as long as illegal toll collection continued.
He said that the police showed no interest to arrest over 100 made accused in seven cases filed by the DSCC over illegal toll collection.
DMP additional commissioner (traffic) Md Mosleh Uddin Ahmed denied the allegation and said that the hawkers were regularly evicted by the police from the streets but not from the footpaths, as they were beyond their jurisdiction.
Bangladesh Hawkers Union and the other organizations representing vendors have been holding protests since the eviction drive began in January.
They are also demanding rehabilitation of the vendors before carrying out any eviction drive.
DSCC chief estate officer Kamrul Islam Chowdhury said that they had appointed 100 people to continue eviction drives on behave of the city corporation against anyone occupying footpaths and other spaces illegally. 

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