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Sylhet Footpath trade booms, pedestrians suffer

46Encroachers these days seem to care less about the inconvenience that they create for pedestrians by occupying footpaths in the Sylhet and causing thousands of lost hours of commuters in intractable traffic jams on streets.Hawkers and vendors run a range of businesses on footpaths, blocking pedestrian movement. Furthermore, parked cars, rickshaws and carts, makeshift shops and messy bus stands have magnified the problem.
Sylhet city corporations footpaths but most of them are occupied by grabbers, hampering pedestrian movement.Hundreds of thousands of commuters have to face gridlock on roads daily due to illegal occupation of footpaths.The worst of it is that road users cannot reach their destinations on time. Occupation of footpaths contributes a lot to road accidents in the city.Footpaths trading, illegal car parking, setting up of small shops or stockpiling of construction materials on footpaths go on as the authorities are reluctant to take the offenders to the task.During Ramadan and ahead of Eid, footpath occupation marks an unusual rise as fruit vendors and iftar sellers set up makeshift shops blocking movement of pedestrians in areas like Bondor Bazar, Hasan Market point, Court point, dorgagate, Amborkhana, and Railgate.
Allegations have it that local political figures and law-enforcers take tolls from such footpaths shops on a regular basis.
Accordingly, Sylhet City Corporation conducted a drive in Station road area in the first week of June, but occupiers returned within hours of the drive.
This correspondent on Monday found small vendors plying their trade on footpaths and a number of vehicles parked by the roadside in the area from Bondor to Surma market under the very noses of traffic police. Traffic police enforced law against footpath grabbers and illegal parking on footpaths strictly, this trend would have come down dramatically,
Traffic police do not tolerate such illegal parking on footpaths and disallow it under any circumstances, said joint commissioner (traffic) of Sylhet Metropolitan Police.“We’ve enforced laws against illegal parking on public footpaths strictly.”