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Putting a stop to land grabbing

  • Published at 12:02 am September 20th, 2019
LAND
Photo: MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Strengthening land governance nationwide will only help the country in the long run

It is good news that the Ministry of Land is planning to reform existing land laws -- laws that date back as far as colonial times -- to try to curb the issue of land grabbing in the country.

Among the many problems that plague Bangladesh, illegal land grabbing, in many ways, is among the most sinister -- the underprivileged are often the most affected, who see their rightfully acquired land seized by nefarious individuals.

However, illegal land grabbing as an issue goes much deeper: There have been instances of river chars and other protected natural areas being grabbed, and it is also a common scenario for government land, reserved for the housing of the underprivileged, to be occupied illegally.

Suffice to say, this cannot go on.

While the reformation of the laws is a good first step -- strengthening land governance nationwide will only help the country in the long run -- there can be little doubt that the problem begins with the culture of impunity that exists in our country.

Too often, individuals in positions of power do not see any action taken against them for their wrong-doings, thus emboldening them further.

It is time for the relevant authorities to not turn a blind eye, and instead work towards bringing to book those who abuse their positions of power and privilege to illegally grab land. 

This will involve tearing down all the structures that have been built illegally -- not only will this set an example for would-be land-grabbers, but it will also do our country and the environment a world of good.