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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Illegal shops on pavements increase fire risk for malls

  • Create problems for pedestrians as well
  • These shops subscribe to illegal electric lines connected to nearby pole
Update : 25 Mar 2024, 11:06 PM

Entrances to most of the markets in the capital are occupied by temporary shops—made with planks. Sometimes they even occupy the parking spaces and staircases as well. They compete with the shops inside the malls and markets by offering cheaper prices for their products. As such, the owners of shops that are inside the markets are not happy over the issue. They say that these illegal shops create major barriers when action is taken during any fire hazard. The Fire Service and Civil Defence authorities too are concerned over the matter.

These illegal shops are set up in front of the malls and shopping centres throughout the capital and are making it difficult for customers to enter the malls. They create problems for pedestrians as well.

They subscribe to illegal electric lines connected to the nearby pole through unsafe cables.

Owners of the regular shops complain that the reputation of their markets is being lost due to these illegal shops. 

Raihan, a shopkeeper at Shah Ali Plaza in Mirpur-10, said: "We pay Tk15,000 to Tk20,000 for each shop.  Outside, the illegal shop owners pay Tk200 to Tk300 per day. Their products are not very good either. But people don't understand that.”

Rahat, a shopkeeper at Capital Shopping Center, said: "Markets that do not look beautiful from the outside do not get buyers. There is no problem with the shops outside, but there must be a system. They are currently setting up shops wherever they can.”

Some shopkeepers have no objection to these illegal shops at all. 

Shamsul Alam, a mattress seller at New Market, said: "They also have families. They must do something to feed their families. I don't have a problem with them if they are not selling the same item that I am selling.” 

MA Kashem, President of New Super Market, said: “If we keep a few items outside the shops, the police come and impose a fine. But there are so many illegal shops in front of the market—which no one notices. A market should at least have room for people’s free movement. But the environment is being destroyed by these illegal shops.”

He said that sufficient room is needed to douse flames if there is a fire incident in the market. 

"My market has 150 to 200 fire extinguishers. There are also deep tubules. But if an accident takes place in front of the market, we will also suffer,” MA Kashem added.

Dhaka New Market Traders Group Market Manager Firozul Islam said: “We try to remove these shops, but many people make requests not to evict them. Their requests have to be kept. However, we think that too many of these illegal shops destroy the environment of the entire market.”

Fire Service Deputy Assistant Director (Media Cell) Md Shahjahan Shikder said: "Due to these shops illegally built in front of the market, our rescue workers have to face various difficulties whenever there is a hazard. If there is a fire somewhere, the front shops are a big obstacle.”

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