City's sidewalks accustomed to hawkers' aggression, illegal parking, dumping of construction materials for a long time are now facing obliteration, as the city corporations have already narrowed the width of many of them.
A number of footpaths under Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) have been dug and narrowed down between half to two feet, leaving pedestrians in difficulty to walk down those and forcing them on to the streets, the locals said.
Both sides of the footpaths from Jigatala to Dhanmondi-27 of Sathmasjid Road were dug some two months ago. The duo's width was stated by locals to have been narrowed by one to two feet on an average.
New slabs were installed in some parts of the sidewalks replacing the old ones. The Zone-1 of DSCC is doing the repair work with a cost of Tk 9.67 crore, said an official of the zone.
The regular pedestrians alleged, they are being shocked at the sliming of footpaths with piles of concrete wastes lying on the road for last two months. "Risking life we have to walk through the main road nowadays," one Afzal Hossain said.
They demanded of the authority to retain the previous width of the sidewalks and to complete the repair work soon for smooth walking on foot.
Mohammad Sumon, Deputy Assistant Engineer of the DSCC, who is working at the field level, told The Daily Observer that the previous width of the footpaths of Sathmasjid Road was 3.44 metres. "We have broadened the footpaths at many points and narrowed at some other portions. But the earlier width remains in most cases."
"In fact, we have broadened the sidewalks more than we have narrowed it," he asserted.
In response to a question, he said that it would need two more months to complete the footpath repair work.
To another question, the engineer said, the concrete wastes were kept on the road for a good purpose. "If we remove those, the private cars may hit the new installed slabs at the time of parking and break many of those." he explained, "After completion of the whole work, the wastes will be cleared," he added.
Tawhid Siraj, Executive Engineer of DSCC, implementing the project, agreed with his junior engineer.
The footpath narrowing was also reported at Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Gulshan Avenue, Mirpur Road and other roads in the city.
A local whishing not be named told The Daily Observer that most of the footpaths in the city were built after the Liberation War. Later, during Ershad's regime, many of those were narrowed to accommodate a larger number of vehicles on the roads.
"If the sidewalks are narrowed again, pedestrians will be left with little space on the footpaths to walk safely," he lamented.