Wednesday, 25 May, 2022

Footbridges turn safe haven for addicts, vagabonds

Footbridges turn safe haven for addicts, vagabonds
Most of the footbridges in the capital are under the occupation of vagabonds and drug addicts. The photo was taken from the bridge in front of Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall on the Dhaka University campus on Saturday. – Md nasir uddin

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Footbridges in different locations in the capital have turned into safe havens for drug addicts and vagabonds due to lax monitoring by the authorities concerned.

Addicts openly use narcotics on the bridges, making pedestrians fearful of using the walkways.

The drugs are also being taken openly at different points, including bus stands and slums.

Recently, five drug addicts were found taking ganja on the footbridge in front of Willes Little Flower School and College in Kakrail.

Some addicts take drugs every day and night on the footbridge, while some sleep on it at night. Commuters are hardly seen using the bridge, peanut vendor Mamun told the Daily Sun.

A similar scene was found on the footbridges at Shahbagh, Bangla Motor, and the pedestrian bridge near DMP headquarters.

During a recent visit to the ICL residential area in East Badda, 10 young people were found smoking ganja.

"Young people regularly use drugs in this area. No one dares speak out against their illegal activities for fear of being attacked," an elderly man, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Daily Sun.

When contacted, Kusum Dewan, director (operations) of the Department of Narcotics Control, said that they had conducted a few drives against such addicts.

"There are difficulties in conducting drug-abuse drives. We need to hand them over to the cops, who, on the other hand, are not interested in receiving them. We'll have to take them into our custody after that. In this case, we must provide them with the drugs they use. We're afraid they'll die if they don't get the drugs they use," said the officer.

The officer said that they have a shortage of manpower without which they cannot conduct raids in many cases. He assured us that they would conduct mobile courts against drug addicts on footbridges.

"In the capital, there are 14 circles. One vehicle is pitted against six people in each circle. When one circle's employees go for a drive, another group is unable to do so due to a lack of vehicles," said Mohammad Rasheduzzaman, deputy director (Dhaka North) of DNC.

On the role of the police in preventing drug trafficking on the footbridges, Faruk Hossain, deputy commissioner (media and public relations) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), told the Daily Sun that raids against drug addicts and traders were carried out on a regular basis.

The police stations under the DMP receive such cases every day. Five out of four cases are related to drug abuse, he said.

He added that the DNC and the Department of Social Services should do much more in this regard.

During a visit, it was seen that polythene, sticks and bricks are lying at the corner of footbridges. Besides, most of the footbridges are littered with human waste.

The government allocates budget for repairing roads every year, but gives little allocation for the maintenance and repair of footbridges.