HC asks for expert body to stop loss of agri land
The High Court yesterday ordered the government to immediately form an expert committee, which will formulate a policy to prevent the loss of the country's cultivable land to different non-agricultural uses.
In response to a writ petition, the court asked for a report containing necessary recommendations from the committee in 90 days.
Secretaries to the ministries of land, agriculture, planning, and food were asked to form the committee, petitioner's counsel Manzill Murshid told The Daily Star.
As per the Planning Commission data, cropland is decreasing by one percent every year. The total cultivable land in Bangladesh stands at 8.52 million hectares, according to the agriculture ministry website.
Against the backdrop, the HC bench of Justice Salma Masud Chowdhury and Justice Md Habibul Gani also issued a rule upon the government to explain in four weeks why its inaction and failure to stop reduction of agricultural land should not be declared illegal.
It also asked for explanation about why its inaction and failure to formulate a law to execute the 2001 national land use policy should not be declared illegal.
The respondents are the cabinet secretary, Prime Minister's Office secretary, and secretaries to the drafting and legislative division of the law ministry, to the ministries of land, agriculture, planning and food.
The order and rule came upon hearing of the petition, filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) on April 9.
The petition said agricultural land was reportedly declining due to housing, industrialisation, and many other reasons, resulting in a fall in crop production. People's lives will be threatened if agricultural land is not protected, it added.
Deputy Attorney General Mokhlesur Rahman represented the government.