Most of the footpaths around Sreepur Railway Station have been grabbed, with grabbers setting up businesses and other establishments flouting the law.
Grabbers claimed spaces they had occupied were leased to them by railway officials but their claim could not be verified.
The existing establishments cause serious traffic congestion during peak hours at the railway station area while new ones, the majority being unplanned, continue to spring up.
The illegal occupation of footpaths has put pedestrians at risk, as walking on the pavements involves danger.
Nazmul Haque Khokon, who regularly commutes from Sreepur to Gazipur Sadar by train, said footpaths owned by the railway authorities were being occupied for a couple of years.
“There is hardly any space now for pedestrians to walk while traffic jam in the rail station area has turned perennial,” he said.
Al Amin, who works at Gazipur court, said there is little space around the rail station where private vehicles can be parked.
“All the footpaths have now been occupied, forcing pedestrians to use only the main road and branch roads linked to it. Permanent and makeshift establishments have been set up on the vacant spaces,” said Mostahadiul Alam Happy, an assistant professor at Mizanur Rahman Khan Mahila College in Sreepur.
Lecturer of Sreepur Muktijoddha Rahmat Ali University College Mazharul Islam said the illegal occupation of government lands had violated the rights of train passengers.
“It is the right of a train passenger to have a space where he or she can park his vehicle but there is no such space here,” he said.
Arafat Hossain Rakib, a student of the college, said the railway authorities should have considered the sufferings of commoners even if government lands were legally leased to other parties.
“Rail officials, if they leased the lands without ensuring people’s rights, should be disciplined. By the same token, if someone had grabbed these lands, he should certainly face eviction,” he observed.
Even a railway-owned waterbody located to the east of Sreepur post office is under threat of illegal occupation, said Akhter Hossain, a resident of Sreepur Bazar.
“Attempts are on to fill the waterbody,” he claimed.
Liton Mia, a trader in Sreepur Bazar, said a woman and a trader were killed in train accident at the railway station in the last four months.
Sreepur upazila Chairman Abdul Jalil said occupation of railways lands and the resultant gridlock had been discussed several times at meetings of the upazila law enforcement committee.
“The railway authorities will be contacted to address the problem,” said Jalil, also the committee’s adviser.
No Sreepur railway station official could be reached for comments but Harunur Rashid, station master of nearby Saatkhamair rail station, said the lease of Sreepur railway station lands had not been renewed in the past two years.
“Besides, no new lease was signed with any party. I do not know if those who have set up establishments on railway lands obtained the official permission to do so,” he added.