Ashrayan project work halted due to BGB’s obstruction in Panchagarh

A BGB official claims that the land was bought by the BGB Welfare Trust

Work to construct homes for the underprivileged people under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Ashrayan project in Panchagarh had to be halted on Tuesday, following a late intervention by the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

The BGB members stopped the construction of the homes for the landless claiming ownership over the land in Tetulia Upazila, that was inaugurated on Tuesday.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Shohag Chandra Saha said the construction alongside rehabilitation activities for 450 landless people of the upazila started in the 2021-22 fiscal year, under the special initiative of Sheikh Hasina's Ashrayan Project-2.

The local administration had worked to allocate the listed government-owned lands for the initiative, he added.

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He also said the land of Buraburi Union is listed at “No-1 on the government’s ledger”, accordingly work began Tuesday morning to build houses initially for 35 landless people.

But shortly after the inauguration, BGB intervened and put a halt on the work, according to the UNO.

Meanwhile, BGB 18 Battalion acting commander Major Abu Saleh Ahmed claimed that the land had been bought by the BGB Welfare Trust.

The BGB members on guard also blocked the entry of vehicles carrying bricks fo construction work.

However, Shohag said: “The land was not acquired by BGB or BGB Welfare Trust. BGB Welfare Trust is a private organization that has occupied the government’s land.”

“We did not expect a government agency’s objection to building homes for the landless," he said, adding that the work has been suspended for the time being.

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The UNO sought cooperation of BGB in implementing this initiative of the prime minister. “Hopefully after overcoming all the complications, we will be able to start working again soon.”

Buraburi Union Parishad Chairman Tareq Hossain said some six houses had already been built on the land earlier. 

“The BGB Welfare Trust's land is separate. Now after suspending work, they are talking about coordination,” he added.

Meanwhile, Major Abu Saleh Ahmed, who voiced the BGB's claim, refused to answer questions about the suspension of the Ashrayan project or ownership of the land when confronted by reporters.