Police chased shopkeepers in the Gulistan area of the capital. The incident took place on the road in front of the BRTC counter around 11:30 am on Wednesday. However, no casualties were reported.Witnesses said shopkeepers staged a sit-in and protest in front of Fulbaria Super Market-2 under the banner of Dhaka Readymade Garments Traders Cooperative Society in Gulistan area around 11pm demanding reopening of the shop in compliance with health rules.
When they tried to block the road in front of the BRTC counter, the police stopped them. At that time, the shopkeepers started throwing brickbats at the police. At one point the police tried to stop them. Later, the shopkeepers left the area. City Plaza shopkeeper Mahamudul Hasan told Prothom Alo that even though there was talk of lockdown due to corona, life in Dhaka is practically normal. Public transport is running. The book fair is going on. Raw market is open. People are doing regular office work. Their shop has been closed only for hygiene reasons. They took to the streets in protest.It can be seen on the spot that when the shopkeepers block the road, the traffic in this area is stopped for about 20 minutes. When police asked to move from the road, they attacked the police. He threw brickbats at the police. Later, the police chased them away from the road. Dhaka Readymade Garments Traders Cooperative Association President. Abdul Mannan ended the program and addressed the shopkeepers. At this time he warned of a larger movement if the shop was not allowed to open in a day or two. This business leader said, if necessary, they will open the shop themselves. It is better to die at once than to die at once. He requested the government to keep the shop open in compliance with the hygiene rules.Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust owns about two bighas of land at Gulistan corner of the capital. As real estate traders, the market value of the land is more than Tk 200 crore. ‘Everyone’ has benefited from the Gulistan Complex construction project taken on this land two decades ago, except for the trust.The Messrs. Western Engineers, the developer of the Gulistan Complex, has sold 690 shops. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating allegations of selling shops separately against two directors of the company. There are also allegations of corruption against the trust’s policymakers and officials. However, the trust did not legally get a shop. Now they have to occupy a part of a building built on their own land and have an office. One of the resources given to the Muktijoddha Welfare Trust formed in 1972 after the liberation war was this land in Gulistan (about 63 percent). It once had five establishments, including a cinema hall and a restaurant. After these companies went into loss, the trust took the initiative to build a multi-storey complex in 1999. The contract was signed with Western Engineers in 2001. It was said that after the construction of the 20-storey building, the trust will get the ownership of two floors. The manufacturer will allocate the shop with money or salami. The trust will later rent the shop. Concerned people said that after the agreement, the construction company went to work up to the 11th floor of the Gulistan complex in the first 9 years. The complex has been in that condition since then.
Usually in case of construction of such commercial establishments, the land owner gets a large sum of money as ‘signing money’. The trust did not receive any money in this case. The company did not get ownership of the two floors as per the agreement as the construction of the building was not completed. An official of the trust’s current administration, who did not want to be named, said the trust could have received at least Tk 50 crore in signing money and half of the ownership of the building from the developer for the construction of the building in places like Gulistan. The deal was made in such a way that the trust did not make much profit.
The trust gets little rentVisiting the Gulistan Complex recently, it was seen that the entire work of the building has been completed up to the 9th floor. The work on the tenth floor has been partial. Only the roof has been cast on the 11th floor. Stores of various products including clothes, shoes, bags, electronics on different floors of the building. Again, the offices of different organizations on a few floors.
According to the trust, Western Engineers has taken around Tk 6 crore with the allocation of 690 out of 1,084 shops in the Gulistan complex. Apart from this, they took Tk 16 crore for salami of 140 more shops but did not go through the allotment. The two directors of the company have taken around Tk 15 crore against 156 shops. 6 shops have been allotted to old tenants without salami.
According to the trust, the rent in Gulistan Complex is around Rs 8 to Rs 11 per square foot. In all, the monthly rent of the trust is around Tk 12 lakh. Concerned people say that the rent of shops in different private shops in Gulistan area is 100 to 200 rupees per square foot.