Right back at it
Occupied footpaths have been a longstanding problem for commuters and pedestrians of Savar Bazar Bus Stand area.
Finally on Monday, Savar Highway Police evicted around 1,500 makeshift shops in a day-long drive.
In the evening, the hawkers came down to the Dhaka-Aricha Highway and blocked it for one-and-a-half hours, protesting the eviction that they say were done without prior notice.
By yesterday, the hawkers were back to occupying the footpaths. However, they said they only did this after getting assurance from local authorities.
Hawkers said during their protest they demanded rehabilitation. They said they would continue the blockade, but at one point police as well as local MP and State Minister for Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman rushed in and assured them, which is when they left the highway.
Kabir Mollah, Savar upazila unit general secretary of Bangladesh Hawkers' League, said the police and state minister, in the face of their demands, told them to setup shop in a way so that there's no obstruction in the movement of transport and pedestrians.
"This is why we've gone back to the footpaths," he said.
But OC Atikur Rahman of Savar highway Police Station refuted Kabir's claim, saying, "Yes, we did assure them of rehabilitation, but did not ask them to set up shops in the area." He said they will conduct another drive if the shops were found at the footpaths.
The Daily Star could not reach Md Enamur Rahman for comments.
Meanwhile, some hawkers said they have to pay Tk 7,000-9,000 to setup shop. The amount is paid to "leaders", although no names were provided.
However, hawker leader Kabir Mollah denied this, saying his organisation doesn't do anything like that.