People deprived of Dhaka-Aricha highway extension benefit

Syndicates now start grabbing extended portion

Published : 02 Feb 2022 09:38 PM | Updated : 03 Feb 2022 04:03 PM

The government although extending the Dhaka-Aricha highway from 4 to 8 lanes, one of the most important highways in the country, to keep vehicles flowing smoothly as well as to develop the country’s road communication system, but people don’t get its advantage as local syndicates have already started to grab the extended road portion, like footpaths.

According to the Department of Roads and Highway, they are extending approximately 76 kilometers of Dhaka-Aricha highway to 8 lanes, which is supposed to end by this fiscal year.

Maruf Hossain, Deputy Divisional Engineer of the Roads and Highway department said they are having difficulty conducting road extension work for the hawkers and other illegal vehicles that stand in the area, and this has caused losses to the road as the hawkers simply set up illegal shops at the new portion of the road soon after they complete the work.

It was seen that a huge number of hawkers’ shops were set up next to Dhaka-Aricha highway in Savar, even occupying the newly extended road, besides an illegal laguna stand also set up on the highway just before the traffic police box, which causes traffic congestion to always appear there.

On Monday, Savar Highway police contacted a daylong drive and evicted all the hawkers, who were operating temporary shops grabbing footpaths and extended road portion at Savar Bazar bus stand area, along with some other illegal vehicles stand, like laguna, that set up on the highway long ago.

Following the drive, hawkers were later demonstrated blocking Dhaka-Aricha highway on the evening of the day demanding to rehabilitate them, and withdrawn the road blockage after Dr. Enamur Rahman, State Minister for the Disaster Management and Relief, assured them to rehabilitates.

Although, soon later, the highway’s scenario returns to its previous state, as it always was.

Atiqur Rahman, OC, Savar Highway Police Station, told The Bangladesh Post, "Without rehabilitation, it’s not possible to remove hawkers from footpaths. Besides, we have to look over approximately 84 kilometers of highways under my station, so it’s quite impossible to keep a police team standby there to look over the issues as we have manpower crisis.". Adding that, they also stated that they will conduct another eviction drive in the area within the next two days. When asked how the Laguna syndicate managed to set up and operate a stand occupying highway, the officer replied, "We also evicted them during our last drive as well as fined them, but if they run their activities again despite imposing fine, what can we do then ?"

Bangladesh Post correspondent on Wednesday talked to multiple hawkers and Laguna drivers in the area, and most claimed they have to pay local police, the hawker’s samity leader, and some others to set up shop next to the highway and to run illegal lagunas over the road. However, none of them agree to disclose the names of, those, who collect and get the share of extorting money.

Contacted Kader Mollah, General Secretary of Hawker's league, Savar Upazila committee, said the administration has to rehabilitate all the hawkers if they want to remove hawkers next to the road. Claiming that none of hawkers league leaders collect extortion from hawkers, rather he sent multiple letters to several quarters to stop extortion.

However, Abdus Salam, Traffic Inspector (Admin) of Dhaka Zila North, refused to make any comment regarding the issue over the phone.

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