The accused have been selling soil from three char areas of land- Khoajer Lamci, Thak Khoajer Lamci and Kalmir Char- in the upazila and have also constructed illegal structures there
A gang of influential land grabbers have illegally occupied char land in the Bay of Bengal and Feni River in Sonagazi upazila of Feni.
The accused have been selling soil from three char areas of land- Khoajer Lamci, Thak Khoajer Lamci and Kalmir Char- in the upazila and have also constructed illegal structures there. Many ponds were also dug on the char land in order to cultivate fish.
The local authorities, led by Sonagazi upazila UNO Ajit Deb, conducted drives, evicted illegal structures and seized illegal machines, including excavators, from the area on Sunday. Besides, the authorities imposed Section 144 in the area. However, defying Section 144, the land grabbers continue their illegal practice.
According to locals, a group of people from Chittagong’s Mirsarai upazila- Mamun, Shah Alom, Mizanur Rahman, Mostofa, Mir Mamun, Nujam Jamindar, Jashim Uddin Bolta, Kader, Iqbal Hossain, Hudon, Nurunnabi Mistar, Monjurul Haque, Nasir Uddin, Fazlu, Humayun Kabir, Ala Uddin and Selim are involved in this illegal practice.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, some villagers ---Hanif, Shahid, Mamun and Jalil--- alleged that taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis, the accused land grabbers had been excavating soil and selling it in the open market day after day.
Kazi Mizanur Rahman, additional director of Human Rights Review Society, said fish farming continued despite Section 144 being in force, causing suspicions in the public mind regarding the sincerity of the authorities about stopping the illegal grabbing. Locals are afraid to speak out as the land grabbers are powerful.
The land grabbers have been selling soil from Char Khoajer Lamci, Thak Khoajer Lamci and Kalmir Char areas, where an economic zone is supposed to be built, Kazi Mizanur Rahman added.
Commenting on the issue, Taslima Shirin Mukta, assistant commissioner of land, said: “Drives will continue to protect land earmarked for the economic zone. We have burned down two excavators and fined three owners of excavators.”
Sonagazi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Ajit Deb said: “We have deployed members of Bangladesh Ansar to the areas so that no land grabber can enter the land. We have conducted mobile courts many times on behalf of the upazila administration. But the ring leaders manage to escape from the scene as soon as we go there. We have fined and jailed several labourers.”