Slum dwellers back again


The Railways authorities about three months ago had evicted slum dwellers settled on both sides of the railways in the city’s Karwan Bazar. Most of the dwellers are said to be living dangerously close to the rail-lines. According to the Bangladesh Railway authorities no structures can be erected within 10 feet of both the sides of the rail tracks. There were repeated eviction operations on slums but the same dwellers occupy the same piece of land again. Such slums are popular spots for illegal drug selling which can fetch huge amount of money.

In the face of such repeated illegal settlements the slums dwellers need to be rehabilitated with job opportunity support so that they benefit from such permanent plan of action. Meanwhile, the rail tracks of Bangladesh Railways (BR) have had a clumsy look for many years since they are mostly crowded by both rootless and powerful people on both sides.

The authorities concerned conducted frequent drives to drive the encroachers away but those initiatives seem to have gone in vain, for they are once again grabbed by the above mentioned land grabbers. In this regard, the eviction of illegal grabbers from either side of the rail tracks drew public appreciation, but negligence or ineptitude of railway officials and workers have failed to carry on that initiative.

As a result, accidents on rail tracks are a common phenomenon that whistles the tragic end of lives. According to reports, most of the accidents happen due to slums, markets and other illegal makeshift installations beside the railway tracks, which are set up under the guardianship of some political elements. According to BR police, most risky spots are in capital Dhaka’s Gopibagh Bazar, Karwan Bazar, Malibagh, Moghbazar, Tejgaon, Nakhalpara, Khilkhet, Jurain, Gendaria and Mohakhali areas.

According to BR sources, around 4000 make-shift homes and bazaars were evicted from Kamalapur to Narayanganj railway station recently, but the structures were back soon, leaving the BR authorities helpless. Earlier, BR has tried to re-acquire 4,391.39 acres of its land on both side of the railway tracks, which are occupied. Of those 922.34 acres of the total occupied by different government, semi-government and autonomous organizations. On the other hand 3378.22 acres are occupied by private organizations and 90.83 acres by religious and educational institutions.