April 17, 2021

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Waiting 36 years to get a housing plot

Anwarul Islam applied for the plot in 1984. The following year, the housing authority allotted him a plot of two and a quarter kathas. But for three decades his plot was occupied by illegal occupants. The housing authority could not explain the plot to him by evicting the occupant.

Retired army officer Anwarul Islam has tried in various ways to understand the plot. Officials from the Housing Authority’s office have visited the office. He also received repeated promises to evict illegal occupants. Dates are also set for the eviction of illegal occupants at least four times. But the occupants were not evicted.

Not only Anwarul Islam, 39 others did not understand the plot. It is learned from the documents that the then Department of Housing (now National Housing Authority) issued a notification for allotment of plots in 1984 in the extended Rupnagar residential area of ​​Mirpur-5 section of the capital. Then between 1985 and 1994, 64 people were allotted plots. 34 of them have understood the plot.

Rupnagar Plot Owners Association has formed 14 out of 40 people who did not understand the plot. 8 of them got plots allotted in 1985. Anwarul Islam, president of the association, said the housing authority had so far taken four initiatives to evict illegal occupants. But for unknown reasons it stopped.

Anwarul Islam told Prothom Alo that he could not have imagined that another person would occupy his plot. He said he had to leave Dhaka because he did not understand the plot and had to stay at his home in Sylhet, about 250 km away.

Looking at the documents, it can be seen that in July 2016, the housing authority took the initiative of eviction campaign for the first time. The date is set, February 1 of the following year. But the operation was suspended a week ago due to “unavoidable reasons”. The date for the second phase of the eviction was fixed on 19 April 2016. However, the operation could not be carried out due to the transfer of the magistrate. After that, in April 2019, the Deputy Director of Land and Property Management Branch of the Housing Authority wrote a letter to the administrative officer of Dhaka Division-1 and Mirpur Housing Estate to give a joint report after conducting an on-the-spot investigation into the illegal occupation of the plots. The report, issued seven months after the directive, said the image of the housing authority was being tarnished by the failure to explain the plot. It is important to take necessary steps to restore the image.

Then on December 19, 2019, the director of the administration and finance branch of the housing department gave the responsibility to the magistrate to take action for the eviction. Then the then Executive Magistrate Mohammad Ullah fixed the date of the third phase of eviction on December 29. However, on January 13 of the following year, the authorities said that the eviction had not taken place due to unavoidable reasons. For the fourth time, the eviction campaign was decided on February 9, 2020. 10 platoon police members were also recruited. But at the time, a report from the Rupnagar police station expressed concern that law and order could deteriorate before the Dhaka North City by-election. Due to this, the eviction plan was also thwarted.

My dream is to leave a permanent address in Dhaka for my three children before I die. But I don’t know if I can fulfill the dream at all.
Lutfar Rahman, plot owner
Recently, it has been seen that people are living in the plots illegally. Some houses are tinshed and some are semi-finished. A two-storey house has also been built there. Many have built their own houses and rented them out. No occupant agreed to talk when asked about this.

One of those who did not understand the plot was Professor Lutfar Rahman, the treasurer of a private university. “My dream is to leave a permanent address in Dhaka for my three children before I die,” he said. But I don’t know if I will be able to fulfill the dream at all. ’He said the price of the plot was two lakh rupees. He paid 20 thousand rupees at the time of application. He gave the rest of the money in four installments.
Desperate to understand the plot, the plot owners have recently applied to the chairman of the housing authority, expressing interest in bearing all the costs of the eviction. The leaders of the association said that they will pay all the expenses if necessary. The authorities should also make arrangements for eviction.

Asked why the plots could not be explained for so long, Joardar Tabedun Nabi, executive engineer of the Dhaka Division-1 of the National Housing Authority, told Prothom Alo that the eviction has been repeatedly hampered by various legal complications. He said a joint operation with the city corporation would be launched soon to evict the illegal occupants. Then the owners will be explained the plot. The eviction drive will be carried out at the expense of the housing authority, the official said.

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