Narayanganj lawmaker Golam Dastagir Gazi has allegedly grabbed a huge chunk of valuable land earmarked for a stadium in Purbachal housing project on the outskirts of the capital.
Rupganj Upazila Parishad vice-chairman Ferdousi Alam Neela is allegedly aiding the lawmaker in the grabbing the land.Although a market [Neela Market] was constructed on the occupied land and named after the upazila vice-chairman, the lawmaker pulls the strings from behind.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) and the Ministry of Housing and Public Works seem to be a silent spectator.
Gazi along with his cohorts constructed hundreds of shops, car rental service office, car parking point, hotels, restaurants, kitchen market and other business establishments in the area.
Many ministers, lawmakers, judges and government high officials have got allocations of plots in the Purbachal housing project.
Gazi and his cadres appear to be getting scot-free although the land grabbing is known to the powerful allottees and other government policymakers.
A question has arisen in people’s mind as to whether Gazi is more powerful than the government and its administration.Besides, Gazi has established an illegal reign over the land business at Rupganj in Narayanganj. He is involved in land dealings to what an extent that the transfer of any property cannot be held without his consent. Several ministers were earlier involved in arbitration following allegations by the affected people against Gazi.
He is involved in land dealing to what an extent that the transfer of any property cannot be held without his consent. Several ministers were earlier involved in arbitration following allegations by the affected people against Gazi.
The Neela Market houses several hundred shops of various items. Besides, a kitchen market with around 500 shops was constructed on the occupied land in Purbachal.
According to locals, Gazi’s agents collect toll from every shopkeeper on various pretexts. They charge every businessman Tk 200-500 as utility bill evey month as if they are water and power supply authorities.
Fatik Mia, one of the accomplices of Gazi, sells possession to the shopkeepers in exchange for Tk 3-5 lakh dependng on the position of the shops.
There are allegations that Neela Market has become a safe haven for the yaba traders although the government has launched a massive crackdown on drug traders across the country.
Many young boys and girls go to the market area for committing adultery for having an opportunity for such illegal activities there, locals alleged.
Local Awami League (AL) leaders and activists said Mohila Awami League leader Neela is close to Gazi, who allegedly gives her undue privilege and attends different local programmes with her. For this reason, she has become a powerful local leader.
The market was demolished on four occasions in the past following newspaper reports. But Neela re-constructed it every time it was demolished.
With the blessings of the local MP, Neela did not need to look back. She was elected vice-chairman to Rupganj Upazila Parshad. She bagged one after another plot at Purbachal satellite town with the help of Gazi. She made a huge fortune with the help of the MP and owns a luxurious house at Joar Sahara in the capital.
Misdeed of Neela knows no bound. She is allegedly involved in splitting Rupganj Awami League into several factions and her activities have earned her the title ‘Godmother’, locals said.
The land which Gazi and Neela grabbed is located just beside the 300-foot road in Bholanathpur area of Rajuk’s proposed Purbachal satellite town. The government has a plan to set up an international cricket stadium with 30,000 seating capacity like the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
But, Neela took the land in her possession by allegedly managing some officials and employees of Rajuk.
Several hundred pucca and semi-pucca stalls have been constructed on the government land. Neela earned a huge amount of money by renting out these stalls. Gazi- Neela syndicate makes illegal business to the tune of Tk 50 lakh per month.
Local people alleged that a den of drug addicts has been established around the market in Bholanathpur area where drugs are easily available. Nobody dares to protest the misdeeds of Neela as she is influential. RAB, police and administration allegedly do not take any action although illegal activities, including forcible occupation, are going on under their nose.
Anwar Hossain, a member of Gazi-Neela syndicate, controls the drug business in the area. Other members of the group are Salauddin, Bakir, Russel, Nuruzzaman, Rakib, Momen, Basit and Abu. They not only sell drugs to the addicts but also provide them with a safe place to take deadly narcotics.
Besides, adult dance shows and gambling arranged in the name of cottage industry and entertainment fair are actually damaging the future of hundreds of youths.
Local people are annoyed with Gazi and Neela for such unsocial activities in the market, a few yards away from a graveyard. Drugs are available in the surrounding places. The associates of the duo are carrying out these misdeeds. Under the MP’s patronage, extortion, theft, mugging and robbery are taking place on the 300-foot road.
Leaders and activities of Rupganj unit Awami League and its front organisations are worried about illegal activities committed by lawmaker Golam Dastagir, locals said.
Shahjahan Bhuiyan, Rupganj upazila chairman and local Awami League general secretary, said “We will not take the responsibility of the MP’s misdeeds. Golam Dastagir and his cohorts are involved in the land grabbing and drug trading. I call upon the authorities concerned to demolish the market and construct the stadium on the place.”
Rupganj upazila Awami League senior vice-president Abdul Basar Tuku, said “We know that Neela constructed the market at the behest of the MP. Golam Dastagir collects extortion via PS, APS and some other agents.”
Habibur Rahman, Rupganj upazila vice-chairman, said various illegal and unsocial activities evolved around the Neela Market, but local people cannot stop this menace for fear of retaliation from Gazi.