Encroachers have occupied the road and walkway in front of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) with support from a few of the medical’s employees and negligence of authorities, causing added suffering to the inbound patients.
Due to such encroachments, patients who come for emergency treatment often face problems as at most times there is not enough space for the ambulance to reach the emergency gates or the stretchers to be brought out in time.
Awlad Hossain, an attendant of a patient at the DMCH emergency, said: “When I came here with my eldest brother, the ambulance was unable to move at pace and reach the emergency gates due to the shops outside.”
“Moreover, few agents and middlemen also bothered us offering seats and other facilities in the hospital for extra money which is inappropriate especially at such desperate times,” he added.
This correspondent also witnessed that different hawkers, vendors, makeshift shops and destitute people occupied the front road and the footpath. Grabbers had established makeshift restaurants and tea and snack stalls. Different household items and even garment goods were sold outside the gates. It was also seen that a waste disposal container of the city corporation was stationed at one part of the road, disrupting easy movement of vehicles.
Nearby the shops, a number of private ambulances, usually rented to patients, were parked occupying both sides of the road. Moreover, the footpath had an illegally established nursery and the rest of it was grabbed by floating people.
When asked regarding the illegal shops, a makeshift shop owner, seeking anonymity, said: “I have been paying Tk2,000 per month as rent to ‘lineman’ Md Jalil.”
He said: “Jalil has been collecting tolls from the shop owners in exchange for facilitating the illegal businesses on the road and footpath. He is backed by a group of leaders of class-4 employees of DMCH.”
When contacted, Jalil denied the allegations and said he does not know anything about the collection of money from illegal shops.
Abdul Khaleque, president of DMCH’s Class-4 Employee Welfare Association was not available over phone to comment of the issues.
Authorities concerned and Dhaka South City Corporation high officials also claimed that they do not know anything regarding the encroachments.
DSCC Chief Executive Officer Ansar Ali told the Dhaka tribune: “We have not been yet informed about allegations of any encroachments.”
“If the road and footpath of the medical area were grabbed we would have taken steps to free it from encroachers,” he added.