The government is being deprived of huge tax revenues every year from vast tracts of land in Badda and adjoining areas of the capital due to an acquisition move.
Sources said the authorities concerned stopped the collection of revenues from the land, including homesteds of numerous people, following a government initiative to acquire the land in the uptown areas.
The initiative has also put people in the area in great trouble. Sources said about 15 lakh people are being deprived of their rights to their land for a “hostile” stance by the deputy commissioner in Dhaka and the chairman of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkhya (Rajuk).
A large number of populations, including women and children, now risk losing their land and homesteads due to initiative.
Joar Sahara, Shahjadpur, Khilkhet, Nurer Chala, Kuril, Bhatara, Nayangagar, Kala Chandpur, Jagannathpur, Narda, Kuratoli and Badda are the areas.
Although a decision was taken to acquire the land decades ago, the then governments cancelled the decision.
They also decided to release the land to their owners, but two officials are blocking the process.
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.
Referring to the circular, the ministry later ordered the suspension of all the activities relating to mutation and tax payment until the land in the areas are released from the acquisition list through a gazette notification.
Sources at the ministry blamed the deputy commissioner in Dhaka and the Rajuk chairman for complicating the situation.
Had the DC and the Rajuk chief taken positive step, the problem would have been resolved, they said.
The duo was supposed to produce documents in an inter-ministerial meeting on April 3, but they did not turn up.
As per rule, the acquisition authorities have to prove as to who are owners of the land in question.
But the two officials are delaying the process on different pretexts.
On May 17, the ministry also sent a letter to the DC, asking him to submit all the papers and documents of the land within four days.
Meanwhile, the Rajuk chairman will have to submit a report, stating a total number of houses constructed on the land with designs approved by it.
Several Rajuk officials said they released the land and approved designs of the buildings constructed there.
Mega-shopping malls like Jamuna Future Park and Suvastu Nazar Valley have been constructed on such pieces of land.Jamuna Future Park bears testimony to an investment of Tk 10,000 crore.
Some officials of Dhaka district administration said Rajuk never claimed to have acquired the land in question.
The land was returned to their owners through the publication of a circular in various newspapers. Over-enthusiasm of some officials at the DC office over the situation is shrouded in mystery.
The DC and the Rajuk chairman are entrusted with overall land management, but they have no right to interfere in the ownership of anybody’s personal properties.
Anwar Ali, an inhabitant of Narda–Jagannathpur, said approval of plan of hundreds of houses and markets by the Rajuk bears testimony to release of land from the acquisition list.
The subsequent grant of loan to landowners by banks is a recognition of their rights over the properties, he opined.
In 2015, the aggrieved people of the areas requested local lawmaker and Awami League leader AKM Rahmatullah to resolve the problem.
Later, land officials made a survey and submit a report, stating that hundreds of buildings constructed on the land after the approval of plan by the Rajuk and allocation of loan by the banks.
Yet, the owners of the land along with their family members are worried over a long delay in getting exclusive title over the properties.