Land grabbers target KEPZ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 13, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:28 AM, March 18, 2015

Land grabbers target KEPZ

Star Business Report

Some influential people have grabbed a portion of Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) in Chittagong, halting the development work of the zone.

The incident has created tension in the country's largest private EPZ in Anwara upazila.

The trouble began on February 21 after more than 200 miscreants stormed into the premises of KEPZ, uprooted its boundary pillars and erected new ones to take control of around six acres of land, its officials said.

Mohammad Hasan Nasir, managing director of KEPZ, said some former employees of a factory in the EPZ, who were suspended earlier for breaking discipline, are trying to grab the land with the help of the local miscreants.

“They are doing so in the name of saving the land of a graveyard. But we have not used any land of the graveyard. Their intention is clear: to grab the land of KEPZ,” he said. 

The KEPZ authorities wrote to the Prime Minister's Office that oversees the EPZs, seeking immediate action.

“The situation is now getting worse, and the miscreants are grabbing KEPZ's land almost every day by removing its boundary pillars,” said Jahangir Saadat, president of KEPZ, in a letter to the PMO yesterday.  

He said all the development work of the EPZ has been put on hold since March 9. The miscreants have already occupied a key entry and exit point of the zone and camped in the area.

“This has stopped movement of import and export products from the zone through the gate.”

Saadat said around 40 members of industrial police are present in the area, but the local police have remained inactive.

At a media briefing on March 8, Nasir also alleged that the law-enforcement agencies were not cooperating with them.

KEPZ has lodged four complaints with Karnaphuli police station since February 21, but police have not recorded the complaints as cases, said Sadin Tayab, deputy general manager of KEPZ.

Contacted, Mohiuddin Ahmed, officer-in-charge of the police station, said the chairmen of two local union councils were made the prime accused in all the complaints, but police have found that neither of them resides in the area. Rather, they live in the port city, he said. “We are investigating whether the accused have any connection with the incident. Then the cases will be filed,” he said.

Ahmed said they are yet to know whether the "disputed lands" are inside the graveyard or not.

KEPZ was developed by Youngone Corporation, a South Korean company engaged in the manufacture and distribution of sportswear and shoes. More than 70 foreigners, mostly Korean, reside in the KEPZ, which employs about 10,000 workers and staff members.

“The foreign nationals, workers and staff members are concerned about the situation,” Saadat said. KEPZ has developed 1,165 acres of land so far, built 24 kilometres of roads and constructed 22 factory buildings. The development work of the zone is scheduled to be completed by 2019.

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