Ctg footpaths remain occupied by vendorsMostafa Yousuf . Chittagong
Footpaths in the Chittagong city remain occupied by makeshift shops, causing serious trouble to the pedestrians.
The Chittagong City Corporation had taken an initiative before Eid-ul-Fitr to clear the city footpaths and rehabilitate the occupants elsewhere but the plan seems to have failed, with the footpaths still occupied by the vendors.
Because of the footpath shops, the pedestrians are forced to walk along the road risking their lives in fatal accident.
Local goons, backed by the ruling party men and a section of police officials, are the beneficiaries from the makeshift shops.
Some owners of such structures, seeking anonymity, said it was mandatory for them to pay Tk 100 to Tk 500 to the hawkers’ leader, cops and ruling party men depending on the location of the shops.
During a spot visit some areas including the footpaths at New Market intersection, Tin Puler Matha, Station Road, Laldighi, Muradpur, Solo Sohor, Andarkilla, Karnaphuli Bridge, GEC intersection were found occupied by the hawkers while the footpath from GEC circle to MES College was freed from such encroachment.
‘We tried our best to free the footpaths and we have been able to evict some points of the city’s footpath when contacted City Mayor M Monjur Alam said.
Of the 428km street in the city, only 82km of them is without footpath and most of the footpath went under the occupation of vendors backed by police and ruling party men, sources said.
Different goods are sold at different points of these footpaths in the port city.
Footpath shops at Badamtoli intersection sells clothes, shoes while the vendors at Andarkilla to Chandarpura were seen selling fishes, vegetables.
The quacks have grabbed the footpaths of Laldighi to Andarkilla.
Md Keramat Mia, a vendor at Chandanpura, said the extortion he was bound to pay was no less than the price of the shop.
General secretary of Metropolitan Hawkers’ Association Md Masud Rana said the city corporation had formed a committee to rehabilitate the footpath vendors but the plan would take time to be implemented.
Before the rehabilitation, the vendors are left with no option but to continue business on footpath as they were to feed their families, he added.
‘We can give the assurance that no new shops will be added to the existing ones,’ he continued.
He, however, denied the allegation of extortion.
Metropolitan police commissioner Shafiqur Rahman said that they would take stern steps against the member of police if allegation would come to them.
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