Dhaka deputy commissioner and Rajuk chairman are trying to instigate agitation and turnish the image of the government ahead of the general election by a move to acquire land in Bhatara, Joar Sahara and adjoining areas.
Legal experts think the two officers have violated the orders of the then president, prime minister and cabinet to release the lands from acquisition list.
Executive officials are bound to carry out the orders of the president and prime minister and not complying with such orders is illegal, they say.
“If a former president or prime minister had issued any decision during their tenures, it should not be ignored by present executive officials.
Moreover, the executive officials cannot go beyond such decision which involves public interest,” said Manzill Murshid, a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court and president of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh.
“So, the move on the part of officials concerned to acquire lands affecting the interest of a huge number of people is illegal and unacceptable,” he added.
Shahidul Islam, a landowner in Bhatara area, said Dhaka DC and Rajuk chairman has created a social unrest by their ‘whimsical decision’.
Affected people may go for a tough movement anytime, he added.Decades ago, the authorities took an initiative to acquire land in Joar Sahara, Shahjadpur, Khilkhet, Nurer Chala, Kuril, Bhatara, Nayangagar, Kala Chandpur, Jagannathpur, Narda, Kuratoli and Badda areas.
Later, the then president and prime minister issued orders not to acquire the land. The government officials concerned are yet to execute the orders.
Rajuk chairman and Dhaka deputy commissioner took a fresh move to acquire the land.
People of Bhatara and other areas concerned have been waging demonstration to press home their demand for releasing the land from acquisition list.
They have sought intervention of the prime minister to end their suffering caused by the land acquisition move.
They have been trying for 28 years to convince government officials to get them rid of the predicament but in vain.
A letter signed by land officer Shamim Banu Santi in 2013 was sent to all the assistant commissioners (land) and tahsildars in areas asking them to refrain from taking taxes from the land owners and completing mutation.
The land ministry on March 12, 2000 issued a circular, objecting to mutation of the land and payment of taxes.
The government is being deprived of huge tax revenues every year from vast tracts of land due to an acquisition move.
Sources said the authorities concerned stopped the collection of revenues from the land, including homesteads in the areas.
The initiative has put people in the area in great trouble.
The landowners can neither enjoy exclusive rights over their land nor can they sell their properties though people sometimes need to sell their land for treatment, education of their childre, business and other necessities.
Khodeza Begum, an elderly woman of Kala Chandpur, said her husband is suffering from deadly cancer and needs treatment, which is expensive. But he cannot be sent abroad for better treatment for financial crisis.
Khodeza is helpless as she cannot sell her their land due to the decision of Rajuk chairman and Dhaka deputy commissioner. She said, “If my husband dies, who will take responsibility?”
A vast track of land spreading from Rampura Bridge to Khilkhet has been included in the acquisition list. But hundreds of residential buildings, shopping malls and commercial structures have been constructed on the land after taking approval from Rajuk.
Recovery of bank loans to the tune of Tk 50-60 thousand crores for the structures constructed on the land has become uncertain.
People have started demonstration for getting back right over their land. They have vowed to protect their ancestral properties from acquisition at any cost.
Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif will hold the meeting on June 14 to discuss the issue. State minister for land and land secretary will attend the meeting.
About 15 lakh people and their family members are affected by the land acquisition move by Dhaka DC and chairman of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkhya (Rajuk).