The Karwan Bazar kitchen market was established in the late 18th century
The relocation of the Karwan Bazar kitchen market is yet to be completed, even though 15 years have passed since the government took the initiative.
The government has also spent Tk349 crore on the construction of three new kitchen markets at Mohakhali, Aminbazar and Jatrabari, but none of these markets are operational. The newly built Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) market in Mohakhali has already been converted into Bangladesh’s largest dedicated Covid-19 hospital in order to cope with a rising number of infections and deaths.
When asked about the Karwan Bazar kitchen market relocation, DNCC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Md Selim Reza told Dhaka Tribune: “The process of relocating Karwan Bazar has not been halted. Those who were going to be shifted to the Mohakhali DNCC Market will now be moved to the newly built markets at Aminbazar and Jatrabari.
“We have already completed necessary preparations and the relocation will proceed once the situation caused by the pandemic returns to normal,” he added.
Earlier, DNCC mayor Atiqul Islam said the DNCC Market would likely be transformed into a general hospital and nursing institute after the pandemic was over, since it had already been converted into a dedicated Covid-19 hospital.
In 2006, the army-backed caretaker government took the initiative to relocate wholesale and retail kitchen markets from Karwan Bazar to Aminbazar, Mohakhali and Jatrabari. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved Tk206 crore in funding to implement the plan by June 2010. The budget has since been revised twice.
The Mohakhali DNCC Market was completed in 2013 and the other two markets in 2015, but they have all remained vacant for years. DNCC officials said disagreements with traders and syndicates were the main reasons for the delay in relocation.
“Wholesalers and retailers at Karwan Bazar have been reluctant to move,” according to one of the officials.
After he was elected in 2015, then-Dhaka North City Mayor Annisul Huq told reporters that he had been able to break the resistance to relocation of the Karwan Bazar trade syndicates.
On April 20, 2016, Annisul Huq told Dhaka Tribune that approximately 17 of the 23 acres that the Karwan Bazar kitchen market occupied would be freed by December that year, and all remaining shops would be cleared out by April 2017.
On May 3, 2017, Mayor Annisul Huq passed away at a London hospital.
Several traders at the Karwan Bazar kitchen market on Tuesday told Dhaka Tribune they did not want to move to the newly constructed markets in Aminbazar and Jatrabari. They demanded the construction of a new market in Karwan Bazar.
Lokman Hossain, general secretary of the kitchen market traders’ association Islamia Samity, said: “We demand that the two markets at Karwan Bazar be replaced with a single new building in the same place. Aminbazar is not a profitable location.”
However, DNCC officials said refusal to relocate was not an option for the traders as they had already signed an agreement to shift all businesses.
The Karwan Bazar kitchen market was established in the late 18th century by the Marwari tradesman Kawran (Karwan) Singh on the outskirts of the main settlement area of Dhaka at that time.
The government has chalked out a master plan for around 500 acres of the Tejgaon Industrial Area, which was developed in the 1950s as part of efforts to modernize Dhaka. In line with the plan, the government decided to relocate the Karwan Bazar kitchen market and Tejgaon truck terminals.