Over 200 illegal structures beside the Dhaka-Pabna Highway, from Pabna bus terminal area to the district headquarters, were demolished yesterday in a special eviction drive of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) for construction of four-lane highways in the district.
Similar drives were conducted at the Pabna-Rajshahi Highway and Pabna-Kushtia Highway on Monday and Tuesday. During the drive, the affected people claimed they were evicted without any notice.
A join team of RHD, led by Mahabubur Rahman Faruki, deputy secretary of RHD, and comprising the executive magistrate, Rab, police, firefighters and service departments concerned, conducted the massive eviction drive in the Pabna bus terminal area yesterday morning.
Over 200 illegal structures, including shops, markets, offices and houses were removed from both sides of the Dhaka-Pabna Highway, from Pabna bus terminal area to the district headquarters.
“Government will build four-lane highways, so the illegal structures beside the highways are being removed for the development work,” Faruki, also estate and law officer of RHD, told this correspondent.
The special drive began on Monday and hundreds of illegal structures from beside Pabna-Rajshahi Highway and Pabna-Kushtia Highway have been demolished since then, he said. The drives will continue until all the highways in the district are cleared, he added.
During the drive, the affected people said they were evicted without notice so they face huge loss. Most of them claimed that they have been there for the last few decades.
“I have run a small shop of warm clothes at the Masumbazar area beside the Dhaka-Pabna Highway for the last 15 years. During the drive my shop was totally damaged. Now I have lost my capital,” said Md Ripon Hossain a trader in Masumbazar area.
Masum was trying to recover some items from his demolished shop when this correspondent visited his shop after the eviction drive.
Nila Begum of Masumbazar area said her three shops were damaged although she has been in possession of the shops for the last 40 years.
“I have legal documents of my possession but they demolished my three shops without giving any notice,” she said.
Faruki claimed that they are demolishing illegal construction on the property of the roads and highways authorities so they don't need to serve any notice to anybody. “We made announcements about the eviction drive through miking earlier,” he said.
Asked about affected people's claims, he claimed they continued their illegal occupation for many years, so they are protesting.