Published:  12:25 AM, 13 September 2018

29 illegal food courts casting darkness on dream project

A total of 29 illegal establishments have been set up at Hatirjheel dream project distorting the master-plan. Of those, 11 food courts have been constructed permanently while 18 were in business in temporary basis. The High Court on Tuesday has ordered to remove the establishments on the lake bank by seven days. With the order, RAJUK in an uncomfortable position said they would evict those soon.

Individuals and traders claimed that RAJUK took money from them in advance for setting up the restaurants. However, RAJUK's said they did not allocate the spaces. It previously made several failed attempts to evict the traders. Now, some RAJUK official from a shady stance said the shops would be evicted after paying back the traders.          

With an apparent happy voice, it welcomed the High Court directive and said they also want the shops gone. RAJUK Chairman Abdur Rahman said: "Actually we don't know how the establishments grabbed Hatirjheel. They did not take any allocation. We decided to gradually remove those by December."   

"However, as the HC wants it by seven days, we will go hard. I heard there are some complexities as payment were accepted from RAJUK in advance. We will pay back the shop owners if necessary," he added. RAJUK sat on July 8 regarding the illegal establishment on Hatirjheel project. Another meeting on Sunday also decided any establishment out of the master-plan would not be allowed.

While approached, BUET Prof Mojibur Rahman, who was involed in Hatirjheel master-plan, said: "Although the plan had no food court, there was a recommendation in 2013 allowing three to four food courts if necessary. But setting up food court indiscriminately is neither logical, nor legal."     

Meanwhile, some shop owners in condition of anonymity said they paid Tk 5 to 7 lakh to a quarter while getting space allocation. Now they were pay Tk 75,000 as rent per month. Terming the total investment as huge loss, they claimed their advance back prior to any eviction drive.  

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