|Project Details||One Unique Property Development Limited started implementing a land development project in agricultural lands, lowland areas and khals (canals) falling under moujas namely Pirojpur, Jainpur, Chhoehishya, Char Bhabanathpur, Bhatibanda and Ratanpur of Pirojpur Union of Sonargaon Upazilla. |
It was first in 2009 that the Company purported to forcibly occupy around 377.3123 hectares of land of the six moujas to develop its unauthorised township called the “Sonargaon Resort City”. The area attempted to be grabbed by the Company for its Resort City included river banks, wetlands and agricultural lands, covering 11 IRRI schemes (special rice cultivation scheme) crucial for the livelihood of 12,000 farming families of 10 villages, and are adjacent to the River Meghna.
An inquiry report dated 30.07.09 prepared by the local land office recorded that the company was filling up RS dag numbers 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 510, 511, 517, 518, 519, 647, 648, 628, 629, 630, 631 of Char Bhabanathpur mouza that are recorded as public lands. A letter of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, dated 21 December, 2011, revealed that the company already filled up through pilling 2,64, 600 square feet area of the Meghna river and its bank (2940 feet x 90 feet) between dag number 293 of Bhatibanda mouza and dag number 597 of Char Bhabanathpur mouza that clearly are parts of River Meghna.
These activities were adversely affecting the navigability of the river, shrinking its waterway and destroying its flood plain; increasing the tendency of erosion and sedimentation, and damaging fishery, agriculture and biodiversity. A report of the Surveyor, Upazilla Land Office, Sonargaon, Narayangonj dated 12 August, 2010 stated the misdeeds of the company in grabbing private and public lands and in putting the 11 IRRI schemes to halt. A letter dated 24 October, 2011 of Department of Environment stated that the Company has - a) commenced with implementation of its so-called Sonargaon Resort City without obtaining site clearance, and b) as per written statement of his official, unlawfully filled up 28.712 hectares of river bank adjacent low-lying lands, wetlands and agricultural lands with 2,47, 21,000 cubic feet sands in the two mouzas of Bhatibanda and Char Bhabanathpur. Such filling up of lands was recommended to be stopped to prevent change in land class and protecting local people’s access to natural resources, which otherwise would negatively affect agricultural production and severely damage environment and ecosystem.
Subsequently, to evade legal sanction against its Resort City, the company changed the name of its project and through its sister concern, started persuading public agencies to authorise setting up of a private economic zone over 121.405 hectors of its ‘own purchased lands’ in the same area where earth filling for the resort has been restrained by the High Court. In connivance with some public agencies, the company, however, obtained a pre-license dated 24 August, 2016 to develop a private economic zone initially over 22.2577 hectares of land to be raised to a minimum of 40.468 hectares before final license can be obtained.
The proposed economic zone envisaged to be set up over 1,30,68,826 square feet of area has targeted to utilise 8,98,404 square feet for industrial area, 25,000 square feet for administrative area, 72,125 square feet for commercial area, 1,94,249 square feet for service area, and another 2,428 square feet for open space. It has a target of creating employment for 50 thousand people in the pharmaceuticals, finished leather units, electric assembling unit, and textile units to be set up the zone.
A legal battle is now on against both proposed projects of the company.
|Relevant government actors||Ministries of Housing and Public Works, Land, Environment and Forest,|
Home; Director General, Director (Monitoring and Enforcement), and Deputy Director (Naraynagonj), Department of Environment; Deputy Commissioner, Narayangonj; Upazilla Nirbahi Officer, Assistant Commissioner (Land), Sonargaon Upazilla, Narayangonj.