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Dhaka Tribune

Port city’s footpaths again in the grip of illegal occupiers

Update : 26 May 2015, 07:14 PM

Within a few months of an eviction drive jointly conducted by the Chittagong Metropolitan Police and Chittagong City Corporation, illegal occupiers have started coming back to roadside areas and footpaths with their regular business due to lack of proper monitoring.

Subsequently, traffic congestion has turned severe in the port city much to create sufferings for townspeople.

During a visit to city’s Sholoshahar rail crossing area yesterday, this correspondent found    illegal makeshift kitchen markets on both sides of the rail track. The aforesaid scenario was also seen in Two Number Gate Rail Crossing area.

“The rail track adjoining illegal markets always contribute to traffic jam which causes sufferings for us,” said Shafkat Islam, a private company employee.

The New Market area, one of the main business hub of the port city, goes in the grips of illegal occupiers after dusk which creates severe traffic jam it’s intersection and adjoining roads till the mid night.

“None disturbs us as we provide weekly toll to police and local ruling party leaders,” said Sabur Mia, a hawker. 

The aggression of hawkers was seen stretching from Puraton Railway Station to New Market, GPO Office to New Market, Chittagong Government City College intersection to New Market and Tin Puler Matha to New Market.

Fruit sellers and pornography CDs sellers dominate the footpath in front of Jahur Hawker Market from morning till the late night.

Apart from the areas, roadsides and thoroughfares of Agrabad Excess Road, Sheikh Mujib Road, Nimtola, CEPZ, Bahaddarhat, GEC, Reaz Uddin Market, Chittagong Government Commerce College Road have been grabbed by hawkers.

Commissioner Abdul Jalil Mandal, after taking charge of the CMP, coordinating with the CCC, started eviction drives at several points last year and then they succeeded to free many important footpaths and thoroughfares of the city from illegal occupations.

But in absence of monitoring during the city polls last month, hawkers have started come to their regular business.

The CMP and the CCC sources said the aggression of roadside grabbers were seen before Ramadan and Eid-ul Fitr every year since local dominating groups, some ill motivated police and ruling Awami League’s men collect toll from the occupiers and allow them to carry on their business.

“Not only illegal occupiers, but also the illegal parking of different vehicles contribute to traffic jam and pedestrians’ sufferings,” said CMP Traffic’s Inspector Hafiz Uddin, who is in-charge of Alangkar traffic police box.

The CMP Commissioner Mandal said they were working to rehabilitate the hawkers so that they cannot grab the roadsides and footpaths.

The CCC newly elected Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin said he had just taken oath as mayor while he would take the charge formally on June 26 after that he would look over the matter seriously.

“I would make the port city roads free from the illegal occupation,” he also said. 

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