Though footpaths are intended for use by pedestrians, the one next to the road between Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) rail crossing and Hatirjheel is being used for everything else except for the sole reason it was constructed.
The approximately 1km stretch is occupied by motor workshops and vendors. What was supposed to ensure smooth movement of people has also become a parking spot and a waste dumping site.
As a result, pedestrians are forced to negotiate almost the entire breadth of this extremely busy route without a pavement and walk on the tarmac -- putting themselves in the way of moving vehicles.
“A few days ago, I was about to get hit by a car while walking on the road,” said Sruti Jahan, who works near Karwan Bazar and uses the road frequently. “It was a lucky escape.”
Just to give a clear picture of the situation: the road is in Tejgaon area, adjacent to Karwan Bazar. There is also a flyover that connects Moghbazar to Mouchak. Be it office or regular hours or even weekends -- the road remains busy throughout the day.
Expressing their dismay, dejected pedestrians, mostly office-goers, said walking on this portion has become a trial by fire.
Drivers are also facing difficulties. “We get stuck near Karwan Bazar due to gridlock. But on this one [BFDC to Hatirjheel], we have to slow down as people are walking,” said Md Salam, a CNG driver.
Meanwhile, the roadside, which barely resembles a footpath, has become a thriving business hub for auto workshops. Not only have they built vehicle access ramps for repair works, but also left auto parts and machineries on the footpath.
Though some sections of the pavement are still unoccupied, those are either battered or remain almost inaccessible by vehicles parked beside it.
Shamim Khan, proprietor of Shamim Motors in the area, said, “We did not occupy the footpath. We try to keep our auto parts close to our shops so that people can walk by.”
About the ramps, Shamim, who has been doing business for seven years, said, “We made those to let the cars in.”
When asked if they took permission for the ramps, he evaded the question.
Sufferings of pedestrians do not just end there.
Beside the BFDC gate and adjacent walls, there is a heap of garbage blocking the footpath. Quite a few cranes, used for shooting, were left on the road.
Contacted, Shahidul Islam, additional director (sales) of BFDC, said, “We did not dump the garbage there. Also, the cranes do not belong to us. Directors or producers might have rented those and the rental companies left those there.”
When this correspondent asked him why he did not take any step to remove those, he said, “What happens outside the [BFDC] gate is beyond our control.”
Md Sharif Uddin, superintending engineer (civil circle) of DNCC, said, “This footpath is under our jurisdiction. During construction of the flyover, we were unable to renovate it. Also, other issues like drainage and gas pipelines came up.”
“Now, we are planning to reconstruct the footpath… hopefully it'll get priority in the upcoming budget,” he said.