Bangladesh Railway knocked down more than 1,500 shanties on Wednesday 24

From: Daily Star 25 January 2007

In presence of the law enforcers, the railway workers tore down some 1,000 shanties from both sides of the railway tracks stretching from the Film Development Corporation (FDC) to Mohakhali bus terminal.

Another team of the railway authorities pulled down at least 500 shanties at Jurain. The same team also removed different temporary shops and other structures in front of the Gendaria Railway Station.

“The drive will continue for three months and by then we hope to recover all lands except where there are some cases filed,” said Md Delwar Hossain, chief estate officer of Bangladesh Railway. More than one kilometre area has been cleaned up at Gendaria, he added.

The railway department also conducted eviction drives at Barolekha in Sylhet, Ashuganj in Brahmanbaria and Gafargaon in Mymensingh yesterday, the railway sources said.

In Baridhara, the Rajuk authorities removed several shanties from nearby United States embassy. Some illegal structures at the Progoti Sarani were also knocked down.

The Rajuk team cleaned up an open space in front of a garment factory at Badda, magistrate of the Rajuk ASM Emdadul Dastagir said.

Meanwhile, Khulna City Corporation (KCC) authorities with the help of the joint forces demolished over 500 illegal establishments in the city on Tuesday as part of the ongoing eviction drive, BSS reports.

Around 1,000 hawkers were evicted from the footpaths at Bara Bazar, Dak Bungalow, Clay road, Station road and Kali Bari area, KCC sources said.

The KCC bulldozed the illegal structures at different areas in Fultala, Dhighalia, Rupsha, Dumuria and Paikgachha during the drive.

Meanwhile, the Power Development Board (PDB) yesterday disconnected over 100 illegal power connections in the city with the help of the joint forces.

Slum evictions slammed

Different political and human right bodies yesterday condemned the caretaker government’s initiative to demolish slums and evict hawkers without providing them alternative housing and earning sources.

Leaders of four organisations — Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Coalition for Urban Poor (CUP) and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) — yesterday met the Law Adviser Barrister Mainul Hosein and jointly submitted a memorandum to him.

They said thousands of people have already plunged into plight due to the campaign, a press release said.

Sultana Kamal, executive director of ASK, and Taslimur Rahman, executive director of BLAST, met Mainul Hosein on behalf of the organisations.

They urged the caretaker government to stop the campaign and arrange for alternative rehabilitation for the slum dwellers and alternative income sources for the evicted hawkers.

In the memorandum, they expressed concern over the eviction of slum dwellers without maintaining proper procedure.

During their meeting with Mainul, the representatives asked about the special scheme regarding rehabilitation of slum dwellers that was adopted in 1997.

Terming the matter very important, Barrister Mainul Hosein said they were considering the matter and gave assurance to the representatives that he would examine his duties regarding the implementation of the special scheme.

Seven left-leaning parties including Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal, Workers’ Party, Sramajibi Mukti Andolan, Samyabadi Dal and Bangladesh Gonotrantrik Andolan expressed their concerns and protested against the eviction drive.

Bangladesh Grameen O Nagar Daridra Federation and Bangladesh Sramajibi Nari Moitree also expressed their concerns over the issue.