DNCC Gulshan-2 Kitchen Market

‘Illegal floor’ thrives in risky building

The dilapidated DNCC ‘Kacha Bazar’ with unplastered outer walls of the second floor visible from the outside, that the shop owners’ committee “built themselves”. PHOTO: RASHED SHUMON

Right next to the Gulshan-2 intersection, one of the most upscale commercial areas in the capital, a shabby-looking "kitchen market" under the city corporation's custody is running with a plethora of rule violations and questionable management, literally under the authority's nose. 

The Gulshan-2 kitchen market stands at a stone's throw from the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) office building, where a committee of business owners is running illegally constructed stalls on the market's third floor and renting them out for years.

According to records obtained from DNCC, the market is two-storied, and there are 303 stalls. But in reality, it is now a three-storied building with 453 stalls.

While DNCC generates revenue from the first two floors, it does not earn anything at all from the third. The revenue department claimed that the third floor has been in operation illegally for years.

The 31-member market committee is led by Abul Kasem as its president, Md Malek as vice president and Sahibur Rahman as secretary. Each of them own a number of stalls.

To-let signs for renting out shops on the third floor are a common sight inside the market. PHOTO: RASHED SHUMON

According to the committee members, the market was built in the 1980s and was extended during the period of the undivided Dhaka City Corporation.

It may be worth noting at this point that DNCC considers the building risky.

"My relatives and I have a total of 42 stalls in the market. Every member of the committee has similar number of stalls there. It was extended during the period of an undivided city corporation by taking proper permission. We made the floor with our own money and were allowed temporary allocation," Sahibur Rahman said, when asked about the third floor.

Asked whether they pay monthly rent to the city corporation as per the DNCC Market Sub-Act 2013, he replied, "No. We wanted to pay but the city corporation didn't want to take the money; they wanted to demolish the floor, but we filed a case and won."

Reiterating the same, its vice president Md Malek aggressively counter-questioned this correspondent. "Who said it is risky? It is not. Only some plasters have fallen off. City corporation has been telling us they'll demolish the market for a long time, but they didn't, so it's not risky at all."

He also said that they had paid money to the undivided city corporation to get the allocation approval and claimed everything is legal. However, his tone turned hostile when asked further questions.

"Why are you asking us questions? We don't have any problem in our building. If you have anything to ask, go ask the city corporation!"

On a query regarding the market, the Estate Department of DNCC replied in writing that the city corporation allocated the market temporarily when it was undivided. However, that arrangement was cancelled as the corporation engineers opined that the floor became overburdened with shops, and the building was at risk of collapsing.

Without giving much detail, the written answer also said two writ petitions were dissolved in favour of DNCC, and they are now working to get rid of the illegal structure.

Plants are growing on the second-floor walls, with the DNCC building visible right behind. PHOTO: RASHED SHUMON


On the third floor of the market, there are shops selling different materials. Most have been rented out.

This correspondent was offered to rent a 9'x8' stall at Tk 4,000 per month by a trader on the floor. He said the owner of the stall was Dhaka North Sramik League's general secretary Barkat Khan. This correspondent also saw offices of Dhaka North Sramik League at the market.

Barkat denied this, however. "This is not true. I only rented the party office at the market this December [2020]. I myself pay around Tk 8,000 to an owner."

When asked if he knows that the third floor is illegal, he said, "It is the market committee who knows about it best. I'm not entirely aware about the fact."

There are to-let posters with phone numbers pasted on the stairwell to the third floor.

Many shopkeepers from the first and second floors, preferring not to be named, said the committee asked them to move to the upper floor multiple times and promised to give them bigger space if they moved, but they didn't as those were illegal.

"This space is 800 square feet. I have been here since the market was established, and DNCC members collect revenue from me every month. I have documents to prove everything is legal," said a shopkeeper on the first floor.

"The third floor isn't legal, and therefore, I didn't move my shop there," he added.


The current allocation of stalls on the third floor flouts several clauses of the DNCC market Sub-Act 2013.

Section 16 (1) says the stall owner must pay the rent of their stall within the first week of the month via bank. However, none of the stall owners on the third floor does this.

Section 17 (1) says none can rent out stalls to others or give sublets without DNCC's permission. But there were advertisements for sublets on the third floor.

Section 20 says no one can use stalls for purposes other than what was assigned by DNCC. But the presence of an office on the third floor suggests this section is also being violated.

Contacted, DNCC CEO Selim Reza said, "We have plans of establishing multi-storied buildings in place of old markets. We are trying to demolish illegal establishments and checking to see if DNCC has any legal barrier to demolish the shops."

A design competition has taken place for different markets, and DNCC is planning to build those by issuing city bond, he added.


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