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Sylhet footpaths under illegal occupation

12Sylhet Footpaths are made so that pedestrians can have a safe and hassle-free walk, but almost all the footpaths alongside the major thoroughfares in the city corporations of the Sylhet  remain illegally occupied by hawkers and others despite drives by the authorities concerned.
Thousands of illegal makeshift shops have sprung up of the city corporations, including footpaths, forcing the pedestrians to use the main roads.They said using main roads by pedestrians is very risky as it may cause accidents apart from triggering traffic congestions.
According to them, illegal parking on footpaths has emerged as another major problem in Sylhet, and a check on the growing illegal parking is also urgently needed.”This is true there is a space crunch and people don’t have enough places to park, but that doesn’t mean they can take over the footpaths,” said an official wishing not to be named.Although eviction drives are conducted on regular basis by the city corporation officials to restore the footpaths, hawkers who are allegedly backed up by police and local political leaders usually return to the previous places after the drive and rebuild their structures. Political leaders and activists and law enforcers extort money from the footpath hawkers in exchange of their help, the sources claimed. According to them, some influential political leaders grabbed many footpaths and it is not possible to take action against them without permission from higher authorities,
SCC Chief Anamul Habib said, “We’re going to take an initiative to evict the footpath shops permanently, but we need some time. We’ll take action against the influential people backing the footpath hawkers.