'No one will be allowed to run businesses occupying roads and footpaths'
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) are set to start a joint evection operation to free roads and footpaths from grabbers at Uttara on September 22.
The decision was declared by DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam at a coordination meeting held at the DNCC office in Gulshan-2 on Tuesday afternoon.
The DNCC mayor said: “DNCC will start a joint eviction operation with DMP to free roads and footpaths from grabbers. The operation will start at Uttara on September 22, and will continue till we ensure all roads and footpaths are free.”
Stakeholders including officers of different police stations in DNCC, ward councillors, members of parliament Akbar Hossain Pathan Farooque and Elias Mollah, and DMP Commissioner Shafiqul Islam were present at the meeting.
The DNCC mayor asked for help from political parties, MPs, ward councillors and police to achieve the DNCC’s goal of building a clean and beautiful Dhaka. “Those who occupy the sidewalks, roads, and footpaths illegally, they have to move. Otherwise, they will be evicted.”
Referring to a directive by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the mayor said that there will be no extortion or political games regarding the grabbing of footpaths.
However, he also said it would be a huge challenge to free the footpaths. “We will have to work together. We consider this is a huge challenge for us.”
DNCC has documented illegal infrastructure
DNCC CEO MD Abdul Hai delivered a presentation on illegally occupied roads in DNCC. The authority also published a list of the roads in different wards of DNCC.
The list includes around 118 roads in different wards of DNCC, including a list of 12 major areas where the DNCC had repeatedly freed footpaths from grabbers: The area adjacent Mohakhali rail gate, Uttara’s Mascot plaza area, Jashimuddin road, Karwan Bazar, Khilgaon Taltola Supermarket, Mirpur 1, 2, and 10, Gulshan 1 and 2, Rampura, Badda, Notun Bazar area, and the Farmgate Ananda Cinema Hall area.
Action against extortionists
Action will be taken against anyone who tries to extort people during the drives with the help of ward counsellors or officers-in-charge, the DNCC mayor said.
Echoing the mayor, DMP Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam promised that police would not take part in any extortion.
“If any complaint of extortion by police is reported, then we will take action against them,” the DMP commissioner said.
He also said police would cooperate with the DNCC to free roads and footpaths from grabbers, and the eviction operation would be a challenge.
“If there is no political influence, then it will be possible to stop any wrongdoing. No one will be allowed to do business illegally on the footpaths,” he added.
MP Elias Mollah suggested that culprits behind the illegal infrastructure on footpaths be identified, and drew attention to the need for action against developers who block footpaths with construction materials.
daMP Akbar Hossain Pathan Farooque emphasised on the need to rehabilitate hawkers, as their living depends on the illegal infrastructures on the footpaths.
He also urged everyone to work together to free footpaths.
“Everyone should work together to free roads and footpaths from grabbers. Police need to control traffic, and the issuing of driving licenses needs to be stricter. Pedestrians and drivers need to be aware,” Farooque added, urging to develop Dhaka into a green city.