Newly-built markets decay as Karwan Bazar relocation stalls

Rashad Ahamad | Published: 00:16, Mar 13,2020


City corporation’s multi-storey wholesale markets at (1) and (2) at Jatrabari and (3), (4) at Mohakhali remain unused and uncared for for years due to stalemate in relocation of Karwan Bazar in those markets. These photos were taken on Thursday. — New Age photo

Three recently built wholesale markets at Aminbazar, Mohakhali and Jatrabari are now decaying as they remain unused and uncared for because the city corporation has failed to relocate the Karwan Bazar traders to the markets in last 14 years.

Several thousand businesses continue their operations at the rundown Karwan Bazar kitchen market in a risky condition in the city heart even after the construction work of the three markets, aimed to relocate them, has been completed for years.

Business owners said that the city corporation was yet to make the markets ‘business friendly’ and they would not shift their businesses until the problems were solved.

Dhaka North city panel mayor Jamal Mostafa said that following businessmen’s recommendations the city corporation renovated the markets and lowered the price of the possessions.

‘We tried to relocate them in a speedy manner but the businessmen are making delays,’ he said.

He hoped that the newly elected mayor would take  the next decision as the Karwan Bazar market should not be allowed to operate any longer.

Karwan Bazar Wholesale Kitchen Market Traders’ Association president Abdul Latif said that the traders agreed to relocate their businesses but not before the city corporation has made the new markets suitable.

Karwan Bazar shopkeepers’ leaders expressed the apprehension that the business flow would be much less at the new locations.

Traders of the age-old market said that the designs of the new markets were faulty where kitchen items would rot very fast as no ventilation and storage was ensured in the markets.

They also said that there were links among the vegetable sellers, porters, labourers, retailers, and truck drivers but the new markets did not provide such links.

The new markets would also take time to be profitable for the traders, they added.

City corporation officials said that the construction of the markets was completed between 2013 and 2015.

DNCC revenue department officials said that except the Mohakhali bazar neither the Aminbazar market nor the Jatrabari one was handed over to the revenue department for allocation as the businessmen were putting irrelevant new conditions for relocation as they were not interested to relocate their businesses to new markets.

Mayors of the Dhaka North city time and again promised to relocate the businessmen within a certain time.

Then Dhaka North city mayor Annisul Huq in September 2016 first promised to relocate the businesses from Karwan Bazar by December that year and then by December 2017, but failed.

After his death the relocation move stalled as none else took the issue seriously.

Many Karwan Bazar shopkeepers said that the DNCC move to shift them from the heart of the capital to three remote locations made them sceptical.

They viewed that it would be more pragmatic to keep the age-old market in its exiting location by housing it in multi-storied structures.

In 2006 the government had approved a Tk206-crore project for the relocation of the Karwan Bazar and the shifting was planned to be completed by June 2010.

The delay in building the alternative markets at three locations pushed up the cost to Tk350 crore, but the relocation remained unimplemented.

During visits to the Jatrabari and Aminbazar markets New Age on Saturday found that the huge buildings were lying vacant.

Glasses, shutters and grills of the markets were found broken down and in decay.

The new market at Jatrabari has meanwhile lost its colour for lack of care.

A local named Abul Hasan said that sometimes it seemed to him that the marketplace became a safe zone for drug addicts.

While the new bazars have remained vacant for years, several hundred traders at Karwan Bazar have continued their business in risky structures.

Anower Hossain, an onion businessman at Karwan Bazar, was seen negotiating with his customers at a rundown shop.

In many cases bamboos are used as a support to protect the concrete roofs of the market as plaster from them often falls down, he said.

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