Extortion in New Market area

Take stern action against the cop-goon nexus

Published : 27 Apr 2022 08:54 PM

Police, political leaders and local administration allegedly extort Tk 22 lakh daily from the footpath vendors of New Market and adjoining places in the city. Each of the hawkers has to pay between Tk 500 and 1000 to the organised extortionists, depending on the size of their makeshift shops.

Different groups carry out extortion on footpaths in the area through some designated persons who are known as “linemen”, the vendors said. The hawkers pay the money so they can continue their unauthorised business along the busy alleys of the market. Later, the extorted money is distributed among a section of local law enforcers, armed goons and local administration every day. Therefore, centring distribution of the collected money serious clashes occur sometimes among the police, hoodlums and vendors.  

The authorities concerned must devise

 necessary measures to evict the 

hawkers from the footpaths 

When any festival approaches, organised gangs of extortionist become desperate and gear up extortion. Deputy commissioner (media and public relations) of DMP, admitted that extortion from the roadside vendors goes on unabated in New Market area and some policemen are involved in the process. Talking to an electronic media he said they would take immediate action in this regard and none would be spared.

Though Dhaka South City Corporation and Dhaka North City Corporation conducted several eviction drives to remove hawkers from the city’s footpaths, it seems all efforts of the city authorities have failed. Hawkers are back in business and most footpaths in capital Dhaka like Paltan, Guslistan and New Market areas have been occupied by them flouting laws and ignoring eviction attempts. 

Unauthorised makeshift stalls on pavements and its adjoining roads hinder free movement of vehicles and passers-by, thereby contributing to traffic congestion as well. Therefore, the city corporations should devise initiatives to establish night markets and holiday markets to rid general people of the suffering they face due to footpath shops.

Those who do business on footpaths have to pay extortion money. If the market is set up in a designated area, there will be no need to pay extortion money. City people do not want hawkers to do business by occupying the sidewalks and causing trouble for them. Therefore, the authorities must evict the hawkers from the footpaths as early as possible.