Dhaka South City Corporation, widely known as DSCC, evicted hundreds of street vendors from Gulistan on Sunday, the first day of its hawker eviction drive marking areas red, yellow or green – a classification to determine importance in terms of pedestrian and vehicular movement.
DSCC Estate Officer Md Muniruzzamn conducted the drive with a mobile court and cleared the roads and sidewalks from Gulistan Zero Point to Surgent Ahad Police Box in just four hours – from 11pm to 3pm.
The court fined 9 people Tk70,000 for their illegal makeshift establishments on roads and footpaths during the drive.
"Number of traffic plying through the Mayor Hanif Flyover here has increased substantially since the opening of the Padma Bridge.
Therefore, crucial Gulistan roads to the flyover have been declared red," Muniruzzaman told The Business Standard.
"We have conducted the evacuation to make the red zone free of vendors and illegal establishments."
He further added that they informed local people about the raid three days ago through miking. "We will not allow any hawker to sit here and anyone to build shops and structures illegally. Our campaign will continue."
Earlier, the Prime Minister's Office instructed the South City to clear the roads, particularly from the Bangabhaban to Secretariat and Mayor Hanif Flyover to Gulistan Chattar, for the ease of VVIP movement, officials familiar with the matter have said. However, no DSCC official agreed to talk to the media on the issue.
On 7 September, Mayor Fazle Noor Tapas made the announcement of marking areas under his corporation as red, yellow and green.
"We will no longer allow hawkers to sit on the roads in the red marked areas," he then said and hinted at a raid soon.
Committee formed to mark other areas
On Sunday morning, the city corporation formed a five-member committee led by its Chief City Planner Md Sirajul Islam to determine the importance level of other roads under the jurisdiction of the city.
This committee, formed with an office order, has been tasked to formulate, implement and manage the action plans to keep the roads and footpaths smooth for movement, in line with the previous master plan of the DSCC.
The DSCC will not allow any street vendor in the most important areas to be marked as red, while it will allow hawkers at designated times and locations in the yellow-marked areas, according to the order.
Green areas will be open for hawkers on the condition that they will not cause any disturbance to pedestrians and traffic.
When contacted, Kazi Noor Kawsar, member secretary of the committee and assistant city planner, told TBS that they will hold a few meetings immediately to finalise the list of red, yellow and green category areas.
"We will coordinate with regional officers and councillors of respective areas," he added.
Sunday's evacuation was made following the office order, signed by DSCC Secretary Akramuzzaman, that especially mentioned the Bangabhaban to Secretariat and the Mayor Hanif Flyover to Gulistan Chattar roads and termed them very important.