Tuesday, 17 May, 2022

Owners get back 16 acres of land from govt after 70 yrs

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 28 January, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Owners of 16 acres of land in Kalabagan acquired by the government have got back the ownership of the plots after 70 years, ending a long-standing legal battle.

Land Minister SaifuzzamanChowdhury ordered the handover of the land in a meeting on Wednesday, reads a press release issued by the Ministry of Land on Thursday. 

The owners or their successors have been using the lands for a long time but could not pay tax for, or transfer the lands due to legal complications, the press statement adds.

Therefore, they could not use the lands, which are financially valued assets. Now that the lands would be ‘released’ from government acquisition, it will end their long struggle.

SaifuzzamanChowdhury said, “The present government is the government of the people. This government is committed to safeguarding the just rights or interests of the people. Considering the public interest, the complexities related to Khasmahal which were unresolved for a long time have been resolved.”

The minister ordered the officials to keep the handover process transparent and ensure that middlemen do not trouble the land owners.

In 1948-49, the government acquired a total of 472.68 acres of land by the Public Works Department (the then C&B) to build houses for government officials.

The land acquisition was finalised through a gazette on January 8, 1953 and the plots were transferred. But the Public Works Department never took the ownership of the land.

The previous owners or their successors have been constructing residential and commercial buildings there.

The Supreme Court gave a verdict favouring the owners after the government issued a notice to evict the owners in 1968.

As the lands were still acquired on paper, the owners could not pay tax for, or transfer them.

A total of 14 acres of land have been recorded under individual names, while 2.86 acres have been recorded under the Public Works Department.

In an effort to end the legal complications, the land owners appealed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2018 through the local Member of Parliament. The matter was then forwarded to the cabinet, and the land ministry was directed to take legal steps.

A four-member committee was formed to end the crisis following a meeting led by Land Secretary MdMostafizurRahman in March 2021.

After reviewing the report, detailed observation of Dhaka’s Deputy Commissioner and opinion of other agencies in the inter-ministerial meeting held on Wednesday, the land minister decided to release about 14 acres of land recorded and occupied in the name of the person in favour of the previous owner.

Additional Secretary (Acquisition) Muhammad Salehuddin, Director of Land Records and Survey Department (Land Records) Muhammad Wahiduzzaman, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works ShawkatHossain, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Shahidul Islam and other officials of the Ministry of Land and Public Works were present in the meeting.