Locals vow to resist Rajuk’s land acquisitionMuktadir Rashid
Residents of Harirampur union in Dhaka have vowed to resist any further land acquisition by authorities to expand the Uttara Residential Model Town (3rd phase) Project in the north of the capital.
Locals however said that they feared that Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha would acquire their lands adjacent to the 3rd phase project.
‘We will not allow Rajuk to take a single inch of land here,’ said one of the protesters, Rabiul Islam, also a member of Harirampur union parishad.
Another protestor, Alauddin Alal, said that they had been living there for the last 4 generations and refuse to leave their lands.
Several thousand residents of the Harirampur union, close to Uttara residential project, had been demanding a stop to the extension of the project in Uttara by acquiring land in adjacent villages in Harirampur union.
Violent protests however, erupted on Saturday morning after locals carried out a massive attack on the Rajuk site offices and its sub contracting agencies, forcing them to suspend the development works.
Local leaders said that a few months ago, the prime minister and the home minister, Sahara Khatun who is also the local lawmaker, had given the assurance that not a single inch of land will be acquired in the area.
As part of the continued protest, a large number of residents held a rally at Nayanagor village on Monday and pledged to stop the further expansion of the Project.
Harirampur union parishad chairman, Abul Hashem told New Age that they had suspended their agitation with an expectation that Sahara Khatun will make an announcement that no land will acquired.
‘We will hold a meeting on this issue with the home minister and officials concerned on July 12 and the minister will make her announcement that no land will be acquired further,’ he said.
Locals feared that large areas of Diyabari, Nalbhog, Ashutiya, Dhour, Bhatulia, Chandalbhag, Shukkrabhanga, Nayanagor and Puran Kalia villages in Harirampur union will be acquired for the expanded project.
The UP member, Rabiul, alleged that the Rajuk had planned to acquire about 2,000 acres of land in the union and its adjacent areas.
Rabiul said that they had obtained Rajuk documents and found that about 375 acres of land will be acquired immediately adjacent to the existing project.
Rajuk chairman M Nurul Huda told New Age on Monday, ‘We have no plan to go for massive land acquisition...but we might acquire some more land to adjust the existing project in Uttara.’
He, however, did not disclose how much land will be acquired as they are currently assessing this.
The troubled area now appeared quiet, although police were seen patrolling the area.
Construction works on other projects in the area remained suspended since the attacks carried out against different project sites.
The management of Monico Limited, which is constructing the bridges in the Uttara (3rd Phase) Project, said they would not continue their works until Rajuk gives them instructions.
The Rajuk chairman said they had asked officials concerned to continue their works.
Sources said that the management of Monico Limited approached the Rajuk chairman but he could not give any assurances to the construction firm to continue their works.
The Project officials were not seen in the area until Tuesday since the protest began in the area, witnesses said.
Rajuk has filed a case with the Turag police station on Saturday night, accusing about 2,500 unnamed ‘unruly people’ in connection with the setting of fire to its site office.
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Date:Wednesday, 11th July, 2012