Dhaka South has started demolishing 188 illegal shops at a roadside market, locally known as Tula Market, in the capital's Nilkhet area.
A team, led by Dhaka South Estate Officer, Executive Magistrate Md Muniruzzaman, conducted the demolition drive on Sunday afternoon.
A portion of the ground floor and the entire second and third floors of the market building in Ward No 26 were built illegally, according to authorities.
With a wheel excavator, the city corporation team knocked down parts of the building and emptied some of the shops.
A hydraulic ladder and two dump trucks were also brought for the eviction drive while some 22 policemen ensured security for the team.
The shop owners said they were given temporary allotments of the shops by Dhaka South in 2012. Later, they expanded the market building by constructing the second and third floors at their own expense.
Besides, many shop owners bought these shops from the so-called original allottees for Tk15-30 lakh since the market was launched in 2014. These owners demanded compensation.
Dhaka South, however, said the temporary allocation was cancelled during the tenure of the previous mayor. Besides, the building is risky and illegally constructed.
Marzia Akter bought an 80 square foot shop on the second floor of the market from an allottee for Tk18 lakh in 2016. Currently, the shop was rented to a coaching centre.
Marzia Akhtar told The Business Standard (TBS), "When I bought the shop, the owner provided me with all the required documents. If the building is dangerous, the govt should build a new building and allocate a shop to me. I used to get a rent of Tk8,000 per month. Now my shop is gone, and I have no income."
Dhaka South said only 35 shops housed on the ground floor of this market are legal and the other 188 shops on the second and third floors and on the extended portion of the ground floor are illegal.
Executive Magistrate Muniruzzaman told TBS that a gang of unscrupulous traders expanded the market building and built 188 illegal shops, flouting the rules.
Facilities will be ensured for those who have valid papers for their shops and comply with court orders. The invalid shops will be destroyed, he said, adding that Dhaka South Executive Magistrate Afifa Khan will continue the operation on Monday to complete the demolition work.