Illegal occupation of roads and footpaths

Provide designated corridors for hawkers

Published : 03 Dec 2021 09:33 PM | Updated : 03 Dec 2021 10:24 PM

City’s most footpaths alongside the major thoroughfares still remain illegally occupied by hawkers despite the eviction drives by the authorities concerned.

The two city corporations—Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), the regulatory bodies, are responsible to free about 163 km of footpath across the city from illegal occupation. But out of 163 about 108.60 kilometre are now under illegal occupation, creating obstacles to free pedestrian movement and traffic chaos almost every day. Therefore, pedestrians have to face difficulties to walk as these footpaths and many parts of roads and footpaths remain occupied illegally in capital Dhaka. 

With the advent of winter, sale of warm clothes at makeshift shops on footpaths gains momentum in the city over the past couple of days. Besides, footpaths in most places are also filled with shops usually selling vegetables, fruits, newspapers, magazines, utensils, fake keys and other clothes. Regularly, hundreds of thousands of commuters have to face gridlock on roads due to illegal occupation of footpaths.

Hundreds of thousands of commuters 

have to face gridlock on roads due to 

illegal occupation of footpaths

Earlier, the authorities of the two city corporations conducted drive to remove illegal makeshift shops from both sides of the roads. In the face of eviction drive, the hawkers left the footpaths and some pavements were freed from the illegal occupation. City commuters especially pedestrians had expressed satisfaction over the decision of keeping footpaths and roads hawker-free on workdays in the capital. But the hawkers who are allegedly backed up by police and local political leaders usually return to the previous places after the drive and rebuild their structures and start doing business.

It is alleged that influential local political leaders take huge amount of money as toll from hawkers every day. Besides, the hawkers are also paying toll to the cops every day to run their illegal business under the very nose of the authorities of two city corporations.

Illegal parking on footpaths is also deteriorating the city’s traffic system again. Thus, using main roads by pedestrians is becoming very risky as it may cause accidents apart from triggering traffic congestions.

A strong political will is urgently needed to end this long-standing crisis. Besides, the government must take an initiative to permanently solve the problem by creating political pressure on those backing the footpath hawkers.

We the city people want footpaths free from hawkers immediately. Therefore, we hope that mayors of the DSCC and the DNCC would have to remain firm on their decision defying all possible pressures from political or other influential quarters. Apart from these, the mayors also have to take more steps to ease traffic jam in the city.