Who will save the footpath?

The Dhaka south city corporation has served a public notice to ban vendors sitting on the footpath in the city. The Bangladesh Communist Party affiliated vendors’ association Bangladesh Hawkers Union welcomed the decision but demanded that they would need a permanent place for doing business.

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Dhaka south city corporation mayor recently Sayeed Khokon in a speech said that he would seek support from the law enforcement agency to free the footpath. But will the government be able to resist the hawkers from sitting on the footpath? I think No. it won’t.

Why will a mayor have to seek support from the law enforcement agency to free the footpath?  Hawkers have long been doing business, sitting illegally on the footpath at the very nose of the police personnel. The police’s primary task is to stop any illegal work, and they are patrolling the street for 24 hours. Instead of stopping the sitting of the vendors on the footpath, police are reportedly giving them the scope of sitting on the footpath, obstructing footpaths. It has been reported countless times in the media that police take money from hawkers’ everyday to allow them to sit on the footpath. If police, whose main task is to keep the walkway free, let vendors sit on the footpath, then who will resist them?

Not only the police, ruling party’s local leaders take money from hawkers to let them sit even in the busiest streets in Motijheel and Gulistan area in exchange of money. Hawkers keep on giving money to local cadres to get free footpaths. If political leaders sincerely make promise to save footpaths from the hands of the illegal occupation, then it is possible for the common people to walk on the footpath. Otherwise, it is not possible to free the footpath from the clutches of grabbers. To make it happen, political commitment is a must.

The city corporation officials are supposed to monitor city roads and streets on a regular basis to make it a successful one. But apparently, they seldom make enquires of the conditions of the streets and footpath. More surprisingly, some officials are involved in taking bribes from the venders to allow them to occupy footpaths of the city. Even the city corporation officials reportedly take money from vendors on monthly basis.

The hawkers of the city always say that they do not want to sit on the footpath to sell product if they were given space in markets. It is right that if they got space in a market why they sit on the footpath. The government had outlined holiday markets for the rehabilitation of the hawkers in the city but no one knows when it will come true.

 

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