A den of occupation, pollution and crimes
Road beneath Mayor Hanif Flyover
Golam Mostafa Jibon:The road beneath Mayor Mohammad Hanif Flyover has now turned into a den of illegal occupation, pollution and crimes due to lack of proper monitoring.
Meanwhile, allegation has been intensified that, the road under Mayor Mohammad Hanif Flyover has been kept almost immobilize in a planned way by the concerned officials of the investor company Orion Group in collaboration with the responsible government agency Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC). There is no one to look after the matter of illegal occupation, pollution and criminal activities that causes immense suffering to the commuters. Due to illegal occupation and pollution of the road, traffic congestion is being created on the road halting transport movement for hours a day.
Due to anarchy on the road, small and big shape accidents have now become a regular phenomenon there. As a result, many people are losing their lives, while many are bearing the brunt of accidents day after day due to severe injuries.
Vast tract of the road especially from Shanir Akhra to Nimtali is still occupied by the illegal traders and pollution. Rickshaw-van stand, hotels, garbage dump, horse stables, makeshift shops, fish and poultry market, rickshaw parking lot and garage as well as hut of Shredded people and criminals are available on the both sides of the road.
According to the sources, Mayor Mohammad Hanif Flyover was launched in October 2013. The four-lane flyover extends from Shanir Akhra to Bakshibazar junction. Orion Infrastructure Limited was the investor in the construction of the flyover on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. The Dhaka South City Corporation was under the overall supervision.
Dhaka South City Corporation sources said, the original design was to beautify the high partition below the flyover. There were also plans to plant flowering plants. Recently, it is seen that there are now several hundred of temporary shops, fish and poultry market, rickshaw parking lot, garbage dump, horse stables and hut of Shredded people and criminals beneath the flyover. Heaps of garbage and rubbish are seen in places. Shanir Akhra-Jatrabari part is occupied by fruit shop, rickshaw stand, tea shop, handkerchief-hat shop. Old packing boxes, coconut shells and polythene layer have covered the floor of the lower divider.
Shredded people live under the flyover in the Rajdhani market area of Tikatuli. It is difficult to movement on the road due to stink of chicken cages and waste kept at places of Kaptan Bazar area. In the Gulistan-Phulbaria section, shoe shops, fruit shops and rice hotels have been set up under the flyover. A club for bus drivers has also been set up under the flyover in front of Fulbaria bus stand. Horse stables and garbage dump are located on the road from Bangabazar to Nimtali Gate. Horse droppings and chicken market’s waste spread stink. Several garbage containers of the city corporation have also spotted out under the flyover.
Businessman Fazlul Haque, who resides at Konapara area and has to travel through this area regularly said, “The stench of rubbish made it almost impossible to get through the bottom of the flyover. It seems impossible and risky to walk down the aisle because of the vagabond-drug addicts. They almost snatch money, mobile phone and other valuable goods from the pedestrians.”
“While there are advantages for flyover users, the disadvantages of those of us who travel on the bottom are not obvious,” he said.
Sorman Ali, owner of a makeshift shop said, “I pay Tk 300 daily to a person, who collect the money on behalf of construction firm Orion Group for setting up the shop and running business. Officials of the investor and constructing firm in collaboration with some unscrupulous officials of DSCC realize toll from the traders, who run business on the road beneath the flyover.”
On March 10, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh announced that the occupied areas under the flyover would be gradually restored to ensure a smooth flow of vehicles and a healthy environment. Though, several months have been passed since then, there is no effect.
During a spot visit, this correspondent found that, at least 13 rickshaws and 10 vans were parked under the flyover near the Jatrabari-Sayedabad bus terminal.
Seeking anonymity, a man said, local traffic police are paid at Tk 25,000 per month to run a parking lot business there. But, he refused to answer the question of who handles the matter and gives the money. He also declined to give details about the flyover maintenance. According to the DSCC budget, though no money was allocated as actual amendment budget for beautification of flyover area in FY 2020-21, the interim amendment budget for this work was Tk 1 crore and in FY 2021-22 the budget is Tk 5 crore.
Chief Waste Management Officer of DSCC Sitwat Nayeem said that, besides regular cleaning activities, special initiatives are taken every week to clean the flyover garbage. But the garbage are accumulated again.
Asked about the eviction attempt, DSCC chief property officer Rasel Sabrin said, “We are making every effort. I have heard from the engineering department that there are beautifications activities are going on under the flyover. The corporation is therefore working on a priority basis to evict the occupants of the area. But, there is a shortage of police and magistrates that hampers regular activities.”
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