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News analysis

It is time for protecting business and not dismantling

By Special Correspondent
21st-Jul-2016       
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The government has reportedly issued notices to 13,000 unauthorized commercial establishments in residential areas under City Corporations in the capital and other cities at a time when state security and public safety is dominating the actions of police and other law enforcing agencies. Owners of the business establishments have been asked to shut their business in six months and utility providers have also been asked to take steps to stop supplying gas, electricity and such other supplies to them so that they can't avoid shutting their businesses. The security issue is the prime concern and as per another media reports Dhaka North City Corporation has identified 830 businesses mainly in Gulshan, Baridhara and Uttara area and notices are under way to close them.  Dhaka South has also more unauthorized business in the residential areas.Another report said Rajuk has identified 1625 unauthorized establishment in the capital that needs to be removed or demolished for security reasons. These notifications and headlines in the media are   enough to destabilize businesses before they were finally shut. News report said restaurants at Gulshan and Banani areas are languishing without visitors after the attack on Holey Artisan Restaurant. They are even failing to get reservations and working at below 30 percent capacity of seats. Convention centers are going without events as new booking is not taking place while old ones being cancelled. Show rooms and shopping malls are also suffering from fewer visitors because of multiple barriers on movements and scanning at road checkpoints and at entrance of the shops. There is no doubt the nation is passing through a testing time but many wonder what is the link between unauthorized business and militants' attacks. What happened at Holey Artisan Restaurant is from lack of enough security vigilance at a peaceful fasting period.  Moreover militants don't make target knowing whether or not which business is authorized and which is not. It appears that young militants lived in a flat owned lawfully by a university teacher at the locality. But the Holey Artisan Restaurant was unauthorized. But that did not make any difference. What many want to say is that business is business and unauthorized business can also be regularized if they were allowed to run business over the past years. The job of the government is to create right environment to allow business to grow and bring prosperity to the nation. Police is to give protection and not to seek closure of business to reduce pressure of security concern. Then one has to close so many things citing security concerns.There is no doubt the government must do everything to strengthen the capacity of police to fight terrorism and people must lend support to them. But closing business will not give solution to militants' threat.Many wonder why officials of City Corporations, Rajuk or the Ministry of Public Works allowed business to grow in residential areas and also openly cooperated by giving licenses and utility connections like gas, electricity and water supply. What is illegal is illegal every time but they allowed the illegal business to grow. The government officials must be equally made accountable for allowing illegal business to grow and be punished. People made enormous investments; poor people get jobs to run families. Their dislocation will dislocate the entire business chain.Moreover house owners received huge security cash when they rented their space to a business in residential areas. Now who will refund the money is the big question. Most people believe that security issue and closing business using legal discrepancies are quite distinct issues and exploiting it security issue at this moment to dismantle business establishments seems to have little justifications. In our view all business must be given protection and must be allowed to run free from undue tension at a time when enough tension is making people nervous to protect their life and property.

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