A government-owned land of around 19.06 acres located in Roopnagar in the capital’s Mirpur area has been left open for misappropriation, scams and illegal construction.
The property, identified in official records as RS Dag number 2074, has an approximate price of Tk3.81bn. Several land grabbers have already sold different portions of the land as their own property and some others are still trying to sell the land, including, allegedly, the chairman of ATN Bangla. Some portions of the land have even been sold several times. Unofficially, the price of per decimal land in that area is about Tk2m.
According the land office, RS Dag number 2074 is situated at Digun Mouja of Pallabi, Mirpur, beside the Botanical Garden, and consists of 19.06 acres of land. Of this, the government’s Roopnagar housing project occupies 16.85 acres of land, 2.08 acres of land is vested property belonging to Dhaka WASA and a 13 decimal land has been given to Eastern Housing, a private developer.
However, the Roopnagar housing project in fact controls only a small portion of the land it has been allocated, with the rest controlled by various grabbers. Md Jahid Hasan, executive engineer of the housing project, acknowledged the fact and told the Dhaka tribune that they still have not occupied the entire land acquired for the project.
ATN Bangla Chairman Mahfuzur Rahman allegedly grabbed a 2.31 acre portion of the land, mainly on the Roopnagar canal, and later filled up the canal with sand. The land is now under the possession of a developer firm named Hasan & Associates.
Mahfuz refused to talk to the Dhaka Tribune when he was contacted at his office.
His adviser Mir Mohammad Motaher Hasan told the Dhaka Tribune that Mahfuz never owned any property in that area. Mahfuz has been trying to sell the grabbed portion of the land, a land broker named Khalilur Rahman, who claimed that he works on his behalf, told this correspondent, who was pretending to be a customer. “He will sell the land for the price of Tk200m with the condition of that the buyer has to take possession of the land from the present encroacher Hasan & Associates,” he said. However, the regional land office in Mirpur cancelled his mutation on July 03 last year. The mutation case number of Mahfuzur Rahman was 1634/10-11.
Mahmudul Hasan, managing director of Hasan & Associates, claimed that he had bought the land from a lawyer whose name he could not remember and it was under his possession. This correspondent found one advocate, Abdur Rahman, who was also trying to sell a part of the same land. He claimed that he had 40 decimals of land (0.39 acre) now occupied by Hasan & Associates. “I want to sell my portion for Tk20m, but Hasan & Associates has grabbed it and the buyer has to take possession by himself,” he said.
Like Mahfuz and Hasan & Associates many others are involved in grabbing the government land. Shahidul Islam, Assistant Land Commissioner of Mohammadpur Circle, told the Dhaka Tribune that several lawsuits were going on the ownership of this particular location.
Some of these lawsuits are against the government, claiming it had not acquired the land through due process, he added. Upon visiting the place, this correspondent found several shanties erected in parts of the land. Locals said influential people in the area have created this slum to rent out to low-income people.