Land acquisition for Patuakhali EPZ underway
The Patuakhali district administration has initiated the process of acquiring about 410 acres of land to establish an export processing zone (EPZ) in Pocha Koralia mouza in Auliapur union under the sadar upazila.
An investors club for entrepreneurs who will set up manufacturing units at the EPZ is also being built on 2.25 acres of land in Kuakata.
The EPZ is being set up along the Patuakhali-Kuakata highway, just 10 kilometres south of the district town.
However, local landowners submitted a memorandum to Patuakhali Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Kamal Hossain on Tuesday, demanding an increase in the price of land.
Accepting the memorandum, Hossain assured that they would consider the matter, saying a decision in this regard would be taken in consultation with higher authorities.
Four landowners -- Shafiqul Islam Mridha, Ali Akbar Mridha, Abul Khair and Sattar Hawladar -- handed over the memorandum to Hossain on behalf of the locals.
In it, they mentioned that the market price of land in Pocha Koralia mouza was fixed in 2017 and has not changed since.
The government's registry department used to adjust the value of land in Patuakhali in January each year but unlike other districts, land prices in the region have remained the same for five years now.
As such, the price of agricultural land in the area is fixed at Tk 15,279 per decimal while residential land costs Tk 26,422 per decimal.
So, landowners whose plots are to be purchased for the EPZ will be financially disadvantaged as prices are still fixed at what they were back in 2017.
One of the petitioners, Shafiqul Islam Mridha, said a notice has already been issued by the deputy commissioner's office to acquire land for the project, whether it is residential or agricultural.
"But it is not possible for us to buy new land elsewhere to re-establish our homes or businesses, and the current market price is much higher than the value being offered for our plots," he said.
"So, we would be financially benefitted if the government kindly considers our demand," Mridha added.
The Prime Minister's Office gave administrative approval for the land acquisition in favour of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) to establish the Patuakhali EPZ in August last year.
Against this backdrop, the acquisition of 410.78 acres of land for an EPZ in Pocha Koralia mouza and 2.25 acres of land for an investors club in Kuakata was initiated, according to a letter signed by Abdullah Al Mamun, director general (administration) of the PMO.
Obaidur Rahman, the additional deputy commissioner of Patuakhali, said notices in this regard have already been issued to relevant landowners and that any objections on the issue would be disposed of within the next 15 days before the finalised details are sent to the land ministry for approval.
He went on to say that the landowners would be paid their dues within two months after completing formal procedures.