DHAKA: Defying the order of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina land acquisition is going on at Anwara in Chittagong to set up coal fired power station. The Land Ministry as well as the district administration of Chittagong are utterly showing disrespect to law in this connection.
On unlawful directions the Power Development Borad (PDB) has acquired land of Rangadia and Majherchar in Anwara which are leased and purchased properties of Bashundhara Industrial Complex and East West Properties Ltd.
There are false and concocted reports published in some media where Bashundhara has been termed as illegal occupants in transferring land which is against the ethics of journalism and just distortion of truth.
With government approval the long term revised lease document was renewed and registered and an area of 84.55 acres of land was taken possession on December 14 of 2006. Thenceforth the land tax of that land is being paid regularly at the rate of Taka 125 per decimal.
On June 4 of that year Bashundhara group took over 6.90 acres of land from one Shahadat Choudhury ofRangadia through ‘Heba Deed” who was the owner of his paternal land. Besides, East West Property Development took lease of 264 acres of land as the highest bidder taking part in open bidding. The aforesaid land located at Majherchar on the bank of river Karnaphuli. The land was taken lease for fifty years from Chittagong Port Authority as per port law of 1914.
This land cannot be treated as ‘Khas’ land. The truth is that Bashundhara group is very much in possession as the owner and title holder of that land.
The Land Ministry has ordered to return the acquired land to the requiring body violating law. Whereas this land is permanently leased out to Bashundhara group which is very much legal.
Earlier on November 14 of 2010, Sheikh Hasina in a note asked the Land ministry to submit a new report about this matter. Disobeying that order of the PM, the Ministry without submitting any report informed the district administration that the acquisition has been approved. The dealings of the Ministry amounts to undermine the dignity and authority of the PM as well disregard to law.
Sheikh Hasina also verbally committed to exclude the said land from acquisition process for setting up an oil refinery of Bashundahra. Moreover the PM had also instructed her present Energy Adviser Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and the then principal secretary MA Karim to ensure it. Later in February this year Prime Minister again instructed the Energy Adviser, Energy State Minister and the principal secretary to extend cooperation in this matter. Furthermore, she ordered to inform all concern not to acquire this land.
But flouting all these instructions the acquisition of land is going on in Anwara for coal based power station.
In a report of an inter-ministerial it has been mentioned the harmful impacts of coal based power station here and added that the committee formed by the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry in a report recommended to set up the power station at Khankhanabad of Banshkhali in place of Anwara.
Under these circumstances, it is totally against the public interest to acquire land in Anwara for the dumping ground of coal. It is completely against public interest and illogical to store coal before setting up power station.
The government is going ahead with the construction of Anwara thermal power plant in Chittagong violating the High Court order.
The HC issued a rule of status quo after hearing a writ. But later the opponents get a stay order on the status quo from the court of chamber judge submitting CPLA and started acquiring the lands. The HC now in summer vacation and it is in the position to hear the case on priority basis once the vacation is over. So, from Bashundhara`s side it is highly expected to keep the acquiring activities stopped till the court`s resume.
Earlier, the HC directed the government to obtain clearance certificate from the Directorate of Environment (DoE) in order to set up the power plant there.
But the Power Development Board (PDB), the concerned authority in this regard, continues its work without obtaining ‘no objection certificate’ from the DoE.
It is learnt that the government is setting up power plant at Anwara despite objection by Civil Aviation, Navy, and Chittagong Port Authority (CPA).
If this project is implemented, the normal activities of the CPA and flight operation at the Shah Amanat International Airport will be affected.
Besides, water of the Karnaphuli River will be polluted by the effluents from the power plant.
Bashundhara Industrial Complex and East West Properties Ltd have already invested more or less Tk 566 crore to start a oil refinery plant at Anwara. If implemented, the plant will ensure 20,000 direct and over 2 lac indirect employment. Moreover it will save use foreign currencies of thousands crores of BDT.
Bashundhara Group regularly pays tax to the district administration on industrial rate for the land. Moreover it pays Tk. 8.85 crore per year to the Chittagong Port as lease money, it also pays Tk 2.15 crore as VAT and tax at source. It has also developed the land involving huge amount of money. In this circumstance it is going to incur a huge loss due to the illegal actions of the ministry of land and Chittagong district administration.
BDST 1841 HRS, JUL 17, 2012
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