The land ministry has taken a landmark step to resolve the crisis arising out of a move to acquire land in Joar Sahara, Bhatara and adjoining areas in the capital.
The land owners, who were deprived of their rights over their properties, will be able to pay land tax soon. They cannot pay the tax for long due to an acquisition move by Dhaka deputy commissioner and Rajuk chairman.
In the latest development, the land ministry lifted the ban on mutation of land in the area at a meeting held on Wednesday.
Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif presided over the meeting which was attended by State Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury.
Land Secretary Dr Mujibur Rahman Hawlader, representatives of Dhaka district administration and Rajuk were also present.
As per decision of the meeting, a gazette allowing the landowners to pay tax will be published within seven days.
Nearly 15 lakh people and their family members were affected by the land acquisition move by Dhaka DC and chairman of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkhya (Rajuk).
Recently, people of Bhatara and other adjoining areas have started demonstration to press home their demand for releasing the land from acquisition list.
The authorities concerned took the move to resolve the crisis following the movement by the affected people and news reports by newspapers, online portals and TV channel of East West Media Group Ltd, a concern of country’s leading business conglomerate Bashundhara Group.
Accordingly, the land minister and the state minister both played vital role in resolving the crisis.
The state minister wanted a decision at yesterday’s meeting to end the sufferings of the landowners.
He said executive officials should not have ignored the orders of a former president and a prime minister to release land from the acquisition list.
Criticising double standard of Rajuk, he said the organisation earlier approved plan of the buildings, shopping malls and other structures constructed on the land, but later stopped plan approval following a fresh move to acquire the land.
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.
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.
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.