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
NameAshiyan City project and land grabbing in wetlands, Bangladesh
SiteUttar 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 CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 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 (in hectares)484
Level of Investment (in USD)Not Known
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population300,000
Start Date01/01/2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesAshiyan Lands Development Limited from Bangladesh
Relevant government actorsMinistries 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 organisations and other supportersBangladesh 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)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement 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-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The final decision will come from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Sources and Materials

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.


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"
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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.
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Other Documents

Ashiyan City housing project in Dhaka
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Meta Information
ContributorSyeda Rizwana Hasan, BELA, [email protected]
Last update17/08/2017