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Ashiyan City project and land grabbing in wetlands, Bangladesh

Land grabbing in the name of township development in biodiverse wetlands. Complaints and petitions of the local people stopped the project for now but a long legal battle awaits ahead


The conflicts in this area are about development of an unauthorized housing project by a private realtor, advertisement for selling of plots therein, grabbing of private and public lands, filling up of wetlands, violation of Master Plan and laws relating private housing project.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ashiyan City project and land grabbing in wetlands, Bangladesh
State or province:N/A
Location of conflict:Uttar Khan, Dhaka
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Urban development conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The housing project namely “Ashiyan City” has been proposed to be developed by Ashiyan Lands Development Limited (a private housing company) in the mouzas of Uttar Khan, Dakkhin Khan, Barua and Bauthar (low agricultural lands and wetlands) of Dhaka City. The Company has filled up 230.46 acres of land for its so-called housing project although it could only give information about lands measuring 43.11 acres and had no valid and conclusive approval. Under its project, it proposed to develop thousands of housing plots by earth filling and construct hospitals, roads, mosques and other public amenities. Although the legal battle against the project challenged the filling up of 230.46 acres of wetlands and agricultural lands, the Company, during the hearing of the case, manipulated a so-called 'no objection' from the Deputy Commissioner for developing its township in 1197 acres of land.

Project area:484
Level of Investment:Not Known
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:300,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2009
Company names or state enterprises:Ashiyan Lands Development Limited from Bangladesh
Relevant government actors:Ministries of Housing and Public Works; Land; Environment and Forest; Home; Information; Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (Capital Development Authority); Department of Environment; Deputy Commissioner, Dhaka
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Assocaition (BELA)
Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK)
Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST)
Bangladesh Environment Movement (BAPA)
Poribesh Banchao Andolon (POBA)
Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The final decision will come from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Town Improvement Act, 1953; Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995 and the Environment Conservation Rules, 1997; Act No. XXXVI of 2000; Private Housing Land Development Rules, 2004; State Acquisition and Tenancy Act, 1950; Bangladesh Land Holding Limitation Order, 1972; memos of Department of Environment.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

SC bans Ashiyan City project -The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has banned the Ashiyan City housing project in Dhaka's Uttara. "Daily ProthomAlo"
[click to view]

SC upholds verdict declaring Ashiyan City illegal-The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has upheld a High Court verdict that declared the Ashiyan City housing project in the capital’s Uttara area as illegal.
[click to view]

Other documents

Ashiyan City housing project in Dhaka
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Syeda Rizwana Hasan, BELA, [email protected]
Last update17/08/2017
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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