The fate of a century-old 6.12-acre pond, locally known as Dorgar Pukur, at Gazirchat in Savar’s Ashulia seems uncertain due to conflict over ownership.
The authorities of Gazirchat AM High School and College for decades claimed that the pond belongs to the institution while the upazila administration termed the pond area as a government-owned khash land and made several failed attempts to lease it out since 2008.
During a recent visit to the site, this correspondent learnt that Moinul Islam Bhuiyan, joint convenor of Ashulia thana unit Jubo League, also a member of Swanirbhar Dhamshona Union Parishad, have been cultivating fish in the pond for the last one year.
Some poor people built tin-shed houses on the west bank of the pond and a cemetery is also being made there.
Several locals said once they used the pond water and caught fish there, but influential people have been cultivating fish in the waterbody without any authorisation for years.
According to Cadastral Survey and State Acquisition records, the pond belonged to a Zamindari estate owned by Gouri Prashad Ray Chowdhury.
“In Bangla year 1354 (1947 AD), three heirs from the Zamindar family permanently handed over the pond’s 461 decimals land to the school and 165 decimals to one Altab Uddin Mridha. Later Altab handed over the land to school,” said Anamul Hoque Monshi, president of the school and college governing body.
“The Revisional Survey (RS) and Bangladesh Survey (BS) also recorded the pond’s land in the name of our school. Once the school earned money by leasing the pond, but in 2008, the upazila administration claimed the pond as a government khash pond.
“Officials tried to lease out the pond, but failed as we filed complaints with the upazila and district administrations. Meanwhile, local influential people started occupying the land. Jubo League leader Moinul Islam Bhuiyan built a tin-shed house on the pond bank and continued cultivating fish in the waterbody for the last one year,” said Anamul.
Mohammad Mozaffor Hossain, principal of Gazirchat AM High School and College, said, “We demand that the authorities concerned help us get back the pond land as we have a plan to shift the college section to the land.”
Moinul Islam Bhuiyan said he has leased the pond from the government for three years.
But Tajwar Akram Sakapi Ibne Sazzad, assistant commissioner (land) of Savar (Ashulia Circle), said the lease process has remained suspended following a petition from the school committee.
“We will visit the spot and make an occupiers’ list and will conduct drive to remove them,” he said.
Asked about the institution authorities’ claim, Ibne Sazzad said, “Based on RS and BS records, they are claiming ownership of the pond land. We will look into the matter.”
Jubo League leader Moinul, arrested in a land grabbing case filed by a woman in last October, is now in bail.