The cabinet on Monday, in principle, approved the draft of the ‘City and Area Planning Act 2017’ with an aim to bring discipline in the country’s land management and check misuse of land.
The proposed law has a provision that makes it mandatory for all to take prior approval from the authorities concerned for using any land in the country.
The seal of approval of the draft law was given at a regular cabinet meeting held at the Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
After the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told newsmen that the proposed law is aimed at bringing discipline in the country’s land management system and ensure planned use of land.
Elaborating the details, he said there will be a 27-member advisory council headed by the housing and public works minister to give policy support to various institutions involved in the land management.
Besides, a 25-member national executive council will be constituted with the Housing Secretary as its head, the cabinet secretary added.
The committee will execute the decisions of the government and coordinate the activities of the authorities across the country working to approve permits for land use, said.
At present, Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakkha (RAJUK), Rajshahi Development Authority (RDA), Khulna Development Authority (KDA), Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), Cox’s Bazar Development Authority (KDA), National Housing Authority (NHA) and Urban Development Department (UDD) is working to issue permits for using lands.
“The city corporations or municipalities and other local government bodies will issue permits for the use of lands in various zones from now on. The national executive committee will have the authority to delegate power for issuance of permits to any other bodies,” Shafiul said.
According to the provision of the proposed law, those, who will violate the provisions of the law, would be jailed for five years with a fine of Tk 50 lakh as the highest punishment.
Replying to a query, Shafiul said at present, the permits are being taken in a small scale.
“But, after promulgation of the law, it will be mandatory to take permits before changing the character of lands. It was initiated to ensure protection of the farmlands and misuse of lands across the country,” he added.
The cabinet also approved the draft of “The Expatriate Welfare Board Act 2017” in line with other international laws and the international convention on protection of migrants and their family members.
Besides, it endorsed the draft of “The Pesticides Act 2017’ giving the existing Pesticide Ordinance 1979” and its amended versions of 2007 and 2009 a legal framework to make them more time-befitting ones. Shafiul said the draft of the Expatriate Welfare Board Act has given a legal framework to the issue of providing necessary assistance and cooperation to expatriate Bangladeshis, including female migrants, when they will be in trouble due to illness and problems.
The authorities concerned will have to extend legal or any kind of assistance for expatriate Bangladeshis to realise arrear salaries and compensation in case of necessity.
At present, the wage earners welfare board is working in this regard. After the passing law, an expatriate welfare board will be formed. The Expatriate Welfare Secretary will be the chief of the 16-member board.
The Director General of the Board, a chief executive of the board, will act as its member secretary. Managing director of Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Ltd (BOESL), President of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) and two representatives of the repatriated overseas employees will also be its members.
In the proposed pesticide law, punishment for law violators has been increased. Those, who will violate the law, will be jailed for minimum one year and maximum three years.
At the same time, they will have to pay penalties of Tk 50,000, Tk one lakh and two lakh against its existing amount of Tk 50,000, Tk 75,000 and Tk one lakh.
The cabinet also approved the draft of “The Textiles Act 2017” with a view to taking back the factories which were privatized or sold under the privatisation policy in case of violation of the terms and conditions of the sale agreement. As per the proposed law, the entrepreneurs of such factories will need to obtain license from Textile Directorate for establishment of any textile and garment factory.
The authorities concerned will have the power to collect samples from market and verify the standard of any imported materials of textile, including colour and chemicals.