Dhaka footbridges to be hawker-, banner-free

Mohsinul Karim Dhaka, Aug 22 (bdnews24.com)

The government has moved to evict hawkers and remove banners, festoons, posters and billboards from footbridges and underpasses in Dhaka City to ensure safe roads.

The Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives on Wednesday directed the authorities of Dhaka City Corporation (North) and Dhaka City Corporation (South) to remove banners, posters and festoons.

ফুটপাত উচ্ছেদঃ এ এক ঐতিহাসিক সিদ্ধান্ত, তবে সুখের ও আশংকার

State Minister for Local Government Jahangir Kabir Nanak told bdnews24.com on the evening, “The chief executives of the two city corporations have been given directives. They’ve also informed me that on getting the directives, they asked the officials concerned to take measures to this effect.”

The junior minister said the foot-over bridges encroached upon by hawkers make it difficult for the pedestrians to move on the bridge. Pedestrians avoid most of the foot-over bridges and underpasses since billboards and banners leave them dark. As a result, muggers, bag-snatchers and pickpockets enjoy thrive in those places.

According to the Local Government Division and the Dhaka City Corporations, there are currently 52 foot-over bridges in the city while eight more under construction.

Of the three foot-underpasses built in the busiest areas in the city to facilitate movement of pedestrians, barring the one in Karwan Bazar, the two others have become unusable. Security risk, shabby environment and dark underground path in the city subways discourage people from taking them.

Hawkers have taken their control of the two other foot-overpasses at Gabtoli and Gulistan. The makeshift shops installed by the hawkers and presence of beggars add to the sufferings of the daily commuters.

As both sides of most of the foot-over bridges in the city remain covered with billboards, banners, festoons and posters, hawkers occupy the foot-over bridges during the daytime and at night-time, muggers and prostitutes prowl around.

The government has not been fully successful in previous attempts to rid the foot-over bridges of banners and billboards.

Nanak said this time the government will strictly monitor the eviction drive begun from Wednesday.