A pond in Ashuganj upazila is being filled up allegedly by five local influential people in a bid to grab the 91 decimals pond near Ashuganj Food Godown in Char Chartola area.
According to the upazila land office in Ashuganj, 15 decimals of the pond is owned by Food Ministry, 36 decimals by BSCIC, 30 decimals by Char-Chartola Islamia Dakhil Madrasa while the rest 10 decimals by Char-Chartola Uttarpara Graveyard Committee.
Following written complaint filed by its owners, local administration and Directorate of Environment asked the grabbers to stop the pond filling but the latter did not pay heed to their orders.
During a visit to the area this correspondent saw the grabber filling the pond with sand through two pipelines connected with a giant boat in the Meghna river.
Locals said, the graveyard committee earlier sought permission from the upazila nirbahi officer to fill 10 decimals of their pond land for upgrading the graveyard.
Later, Ashuganj Assistant Commissioner (Land) Shahina Akter conducted a survey over the ownership of the pond land and demarcated the portion of its respective owners.
In the first week of May, soon after the grabbers started the pond filling, freedom fighter Lal Mia Sarkar filed a complaint to Brahmanbaria Deputy Commissioner (DC), who stopped the filling work then.
Later, the Food Department and Ashuganj Fertilizer Company on behalf of BSCIC submitted separate petitions to the DC only to stop the grabbing spree for a few days.
Locals alleged that five influential people--Awami League (AL) leader Ayub Khan, former General Secretary of Ashuganj upazila unit BNP Zakir Hossain, Shafiqur Rahman, Tokku Mia and Mohiuddin Mollah--started filling the pond in the name of upgrading the graveyard and building a market complex over there.
When asked, Ayub claimed that they were filling the pond with prior permission from the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) and local AL leaders.
Ashuganj UNO Mousumi Bain Hira said, 'As there is no provision of filling up any water body, so question doesn't arise about any permission.”
Assistant Director Mossaber Hossain Mohammad Rajib of Directorate of Environment in Brahmanbaria said, “Although I served notices to the grabbers, they haven't stopped the illegal act.”