As the lockdown continues, the public gathering at Ekushey Book Fair is now negligible. There was no trading in many stalls all day on Tuesday. However, the catastrophic situation that was created in the fair due to the impact of Kalbaishakhi on Sunday has come to an end. The stalls reopened after repairs.
Nuruzzaman, Panjeri’s sales manager, said it was impossible to say what they had sold. This time they have 40 new books. Usually their buyers come from outside Dhaka to buy books by list. Bookstores outside Dhaka do not usually have creative books without note-guides. That’s why Moffsball readers are a big buyer at the book fair. This time those buyers are not able to come because of the lockdown. Now there is no point in holding a fair from 12 noon to 5 pm. Only the cost is rising.
First book: New book arrives at First Stall American theoretical physicist Michio Kakur Parallel Worlds: The Science of the Alternative Universe and Our Future. Translated by Abul Basar. The main topics of this book are parallel universe and string theory. With the theory of relativity and quantum theory. This book translated into simple prose will be liked by the readers interested in science.
Mashroor Arefin’s third novel Underground and Poetry Situation has been on fire since. Nalanda brings the return of Nowshad Jamil’s novel, Shaluk brings Obaid Akash’s poetic solitude lying on the sea guard, Jalal Feroze’s Bangabandhu brings next: state establishment and state building.
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. According to the documents, the then Department of Housing (now National Housing Authority) issued a notification in 1974 for allotment of plots 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 for “unavoidable reasons” the operation was suspended a week ago. 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 the illegal occupants would be evicted soon in a joint operation with the city corporation. 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.