MPs involved in land grabbing: State Minister

Involvement of MPs, belonging to both Awami League and BNP, in illegal grabbing of Khas land remains a major obstacle towards ensuring poor people’s right to land, State Minister for Law Quamrul Islam said on Saturday.“No one of those who have been MPs for a long time was out of this process… no difference whether they belong to AL or to BNP,” he said referring to the process of intimidation and corruption in the exploitation of the country’s Khas lands.
The State Minister came up with the criticism while addressing a roundtable dialogue, titled ‘Accessibility of Poor and Extreme Poor People to Khasland: Existing Constraints and Way-Forward’, organised by Care, Bangladesh at a city hotel.
He also observed that the real acreage of Khas lands in the country is at least two-three times higher than the acreage shown in government land records, blaming the anomaly on the failure of the land administration to formulate proper, adequate and timely information.
According to official records, the country has about 33 lakh acres of Khas lands. The number of landless families in the country is estimated at 70 lakh.
Besides the political leaders, Quamrul said, there is a class of land grabbers who do not belong to any political party in real sense.
“With each and every change in the state power, they change the sides in order to be able to come up with new schemes for grabbing more Khas lands, he said, adding that most of the housing companies are run by these “land mafia”.
With support from the corrupt land officials, particularly the assistant commissioners (lands) in case of Khas lands, they (land grabbers) can easily come up with false deeds and documents related to the allotment of the Khas lands, he observed.
The Land Ministry needs to address the problem with a strong hand and must initiate a tough monitoring of the land documents authorised by the assistant commissioners, added Quamrul, sitting beside Land Minister Rezaul Karim Hira at the roundtable dialogue.
The Land Minister, during his speech as the chief guest, said he has been working hard to improve the capacity and transparency of the land administration.
Conducted by Boishakhi Television chief executive officer Monzurul Ahsan Bulbul, the roundtable dialogue was also addressed by, Care Bangladesh country director Jamie Terzi and Information Commissioner Prof Sadeka Halim. (Source: UNB)

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