Roadside markets on some of the busiest parts in the capital are causing severe traffic congestion and suffering to the commuters.
Vegetable, fruit and fish vendors put up stalls on footpaths and parts of the roads all day long, causing immense sufferings for the pedestrians and commuters.
The road from Mirpur Mazar intersection to Mirpur 1 intersection, one side of Shantinagar intersection and in front of Rampura Bazaar turn into bustling marketplaces every day from morning to the midnight.
Makeshift traders occupy the footpaths along the busy roads. As a result, the actual width of the streets has shrunk, causing serious traffic congestion in those areas.
Vehicles have to remain stuck in long tailback while passing these roads. This has also force pedestrians to risk their lives by jaywalking on busy roads.
Sources said some powerful syndicates have made it a business in a planned way allegedly with support from a section of ruling party leaders and local police stations. The syndicates collect toll from footpath shops every day.
During a visit to the Mirpur Mazar intersection to Mirpur 1 intersection Saturday morning, it was seen that both sides of footpath along the busy road was occupied by vegetable, fruit and fish traders.
A large number of buyers were also seen thronging the makeshift shops to purchase vegetables, fruit, fish and cooking spices. Scores of van and rickshaws were seen standing occupying the road. A huge traffic jam was seen on that busy part of the city as both sides of the road was almost occupied by the footpath traders.
Some traders informed that both wholesale and retail traders run their business on the roads.
The wholesale traders start their business on the road from midnight and continue until 10:00 am. Then the place goes to the retail traders from 10:00 am until midnight.
A retail trader claimed that they have to pay Tk 300 per day to run their makeshift shops on the road. A wholesale trader said they pay Tk 500 to run their shop on the road from midnight to morning.
During a visit to Shantinagar intersection, the west side of the footpath and road from Shantinagar intersection to CID office was seen occupied by the traders. A large number of vans and rickshaws were also seen occupying almost half of the road.
Mostofa Khan, a security guard of a roadside house at Shantinagar, said “The bazaar runs from 5:00 am and continue till 9:00 am. This causes severe traffic congestion in this area.”
But this correspondent found the bazaar to be still abuzz with traders and buyers at around 9:30 am. Traffic had to move slowly or remained stuck periodically while passing the area.
Dulal, a trader, said “I come here every day morning and run my business till 9:00 am here. I have to pay Tk 300 per day to run my shop on the footpath.”
During a visit to Rampura Bazaar, this correspondent found the sidewalk and road have been occupied by more than a hundred fish, vegetable and fruit shops. Pedestrians were seen using the busy main road due to the hustle and bustle on the sidewalk.
Though the footpaths have been renovated recently for the convenience of the pedestrians, illegal makeshift shops push the pedestrians to the main road, which also disrupts traffic and increases the risks of accidents.
Locals alleged that the law enforcing agencies are indifference to the long tailbacks caused by the makeshift bazaars.
When contacted, Md Anwar Hossain, Officer-in-charge of Shah Ali police station, however, said “We conduct regular drives against those roadside bazaars. But the real problem is that the vendors keep coming back within hours no matter how many times they are evicted from the roads and footpath.”