Recovery of govt lands
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) recently asked the three ministries concerned to take immediate steps in recovering thousands of acres of government land grabbed by encroachers and housing companies across the country, especially in Dhaka and Gazipur districts.
The PMO, on February 22, gave the direction in writing to the Ministry of Land, the Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Ministry of Law to take prompt measures to recover the grabbed land following recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Land Ministry recently.
Expressing deep concern over the widespread land grabbing in forest areas of Dhaka and Gazipur districts through felling trees, the parliamentary watchdog also asked the ministries concerned to prepare a list of land grabbers and submit it at the next meeting.
The parliamentary body also formed a five-member probe committee headed by Enamul Haq to investigate the matter and submit a report within 30 days. The other members of the committee are Promodh Mankin, Golam Habib Dulal, Ali Kader and Nurul Huda.
The JS body asked the ministries concerned to prepare a list of the land.
The chairman of the committee alleged that a band of corrupt people and firms with the help of some unscrupulous forest officials have long been grabbing government land. He also said that some housing companies are also engaged in grabbing thousands of acres of 'khas' and abandoned land through fake registrations.
He blasted the ministries concerned for not taking any action against these land grabbers, who claimed themselves to be the owners of hundreds of acres of land despite, as per rule, the fact that none can claim more than 60 acres of land.
The parliamentary body, however, identified the political intervention, influence on administration, weak civil cases, lack of manpower and financial strength as the major obstacles to recovering the grabbed land. It also observed that criminal cases are more effective than civil cases in recovering the grabbled land
For these loopholes the authorities could not conduct any massive drive against the land grabbers. Grabbed land worth about Tk. 7.18 billion was recovered by the ministries concerned in the last two years.
The committee also placed a five-point terms of reference (ToR) to recover the grabbed land from the clutches of the encroachers, that proposes taking action against the land grabbers through the Speedy Trial Tribunal, imposing ban on hill-cutting and sand extraction from riverbed and bringing land officials under the Land Ministry.
It also recommended the government to deploy Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and file criminal cases against the land grabbers.
The parliamentary committee also asked the Land Ministry to submit a complete report on its works undertaken during the last four years by the next meeting.
Among others, State Minister for Land Ukil Abdus Sattar and Mosaddeq Ali MP were present at the meeting.