A proposal has been prepared to rehabilitate the hawkers to make the roads and footpaths free from illegal occupants to ease the nagging traffic congestion and movement of pedestrians in the city.
“We have already prepared a proposal to rehabilitate the hawkers with a view to keeping the roads and footpaths hawker-free. The proposal is now being scrutinized,” Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sayeed Khokon told BSS.
“The proposal will be sent to the ministry for approval and we will initiate the process of rehabilitation soon after getting the ministry’s consent,” he added.
A list of the hawkers is now being prepared to rehabilitate them in line with the proposal, the mayor said, adding that as per the proposal the educated hawkers will be provided with jobs while younger ones will be sent abroad and the elderly ones be given shops at the multi-storied hawkers markets in the capital city.
The DSCC mayor said they have held meetings with Expatriate Welfare Ministry to send the hawkers abroad as part of the initiative to rehabilitate them with jobs in foreign countries and a number of hawkers have already applied to this end.
The educated hawkers have been asked to apply for the posts of fourth class employees in the government, semi-government, non-government and statuary bodies as the city corporations will give them all-out supports in getting those jobs.
DSCC Mayor Khokon said they would not change their stance for any political or any other reasons and vowed to continue the eviction drive to keep the roads and footpaths hawker-free as the decision is widely appreciated.
The city corporations have allowed the hawkers to sit on the footpaths after 5pm on working days. It also introduced holiday markets allowing hawkers to sit on the footpaths on Fridays and Saturdays at appropriate places of the city.
A private bank official, Abdullah Al Mahmud, said the city corporations have taken a time- befitting decision of making the roads and footpaths free from illegal occupants and all citizens should render cooperation to this move.
But freeing roads and footpaths from illegal occupants seems to be difficult as footpaths are getting occupied moments after the eviction drives end, he added.
Deputy Commissioner of police of Motijeel zone Md Anwar Hossain stressed the need for a permanent solution to the matter, saying, “If necessary, police will give all necessary assistance to the city corporation to free the roads and footpaths of hawkers.”
Hawkers Federation president Abul Kashem said that the city corporations have prepared a list of 2,502 hawkers in Gulishtan area, 740 hawkers in Shahbagh area and 872 hawkers in New Market area.
The city corporations have informed them that they have taken measures for rehabilitating 20,000 hawkers, dividing them into three groups, he added.
He stressed the need for immediate measures to rehabilitate the hawkers as they have been living inhuman lives due to the government decision of evicting them from the footpaths and roads.