Illegal occupation of Dhaka footpaths

Provide designated space for hawkers

Published : 22 Nov 2022 08:15 PM

It is disconcerting to note that an increasing number of vendors are mushrooming on the city streets and hindering movement of vehaicles while compelling the pedestrians to walk through the main roads. Encroachment on footpaths and pavements are on the rise due to the absence of stringent vigilance by the city authorities. 

A section of unscrupulous businessmen leases Dhaka’s footpaths under the very nose of the city authorities. Against this backdrop, the High Court has ordered to submit the list of those who are leasing footpaths covered by the two city corporations of Dhaka. Authorities of the two city corporations and the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) have been asked to submit report within two months.

Thousands of makeshift shops have reportedly sprung up on city roads and footpaths. Cars randomly parked on the streets, rickshaws, carts and disorganized bus stands have also aggravated the situation. Needless to mention, such a situation is jeopardizing the capital’s urban health.

The two corporations conduct

 eviction drive routinely, but after

 the drive hawkers again return

 to the footpaths for doing business

Hundreds of thousands of commuters have to face gridlock on roads due to illegal occupation of footpaths. Road users cannot reach their destinations on time due to forced occupation of footpaths and pedestrians are forced to walk through roads, causing accidents.

Experts assert that the two city corporations—Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC)-are responsible for maintaining about 163 km of footpath across the city, of which more than 90 km are now under illegal occupation. 

The two corporations conduct eviction drive routinely, but after the drive hawkers again return to the footpaths for doing business. It is said that law enforcers and a section of unscrupulous local groups take bribes from the hawkers and help them reappear on the roads.

Reports tell us that some 2 lakh hawkers in the capital pay tolls to extortionists every day to run their business. Hence, to remove such a huge number of illegal hawkers from the roads and footpaths, hawkers’ registration is a must.  It is time to build designated hawker’s corridors adjacent to footpaths so that they do not occupy the streets. Also, the two city corporations should provide directives so that registered hawkers shift shops at the selected corridors.