Shambhuganj Bazar: Century-old market turns into a menace
The century-old Shambhuganj Bazar in Mymensingh bears all the characteristics of a village market.
Not only does it bring together buyers and sellers from Mymensingh city and adjacent areas, it also draws in huge customers, as fresh items can be purchased at a relatively cheaper price.
The bazar gets a festive look every Thursday and Sunday, when traders and customers from all corners of the district assemble there.
According to locals, Shambhuganj Bazar is one of oldest business centres of the country.
"I've been coming here since the Pakistan era. My father and grandfather used to come here too. It's been going on since the British period," Samesh Uddin (80) told this correspondent.
"It also hosts one of the biggest cattle markets in the Mymensingh region," he added.
However, at present the market has become a menace for commuters of the adjacent areas.
Small traders and hawkers occupy footpaths, and matters get even worse on Sundays and Thursdays. Even kitchen markets are set up on pavements, blocking the movement of pedestrians and causing traffic congestion, alleged locals.
These markets are set up illegally without the Mymensingh City Corporation's approval and set up just about anywhere -- obstructing movement of people and vehicles.
But city dwellers alleged that powerful quarters and law enforcers are behind occupying the pavements, who collect a hefty sum from the hawkers of these footpath markets.
The market's leaseholders also collect toll from traders selling products on footpath shops, despite it being an illegal act.
"Almost all the shopkeepers have extended their shops up to the footpath for their personal benefit, ignoring the people's sufferings," said Abdur Rouf, a customer.
Contacted, leaseholder of the bazar Md Asaduzzaman Sohel said the market has been running in such a way for a century.
"On various occasions, we have informed the MCC officials and administration to recover the footpaths, especially around the cattle market," he said.
"We also advocated for shifting kitchen markets to other areas to lessen pressure on the main road. But no initiative has been taken in this regard," he added.
Shahjahan Monir, local ward commissioner of MCC, said they've informed the authorities on different occasions and they should take immediate steps to mitigate the decade-long sufferings.
"If the city corporation takes stern action to evict the illegal structures from the footpath, the city's people will have a huge relief," he said.
Khandaker Jahangir Alam, MCC market inspector, said they're working to reduce the public sufferings at Shambhuganj Bazar. A decision will be taken soon, he added.