Plot claimants start fresh encroachment on Gulshan-Baridhara lake | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 17, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 17, 2008

Plot claimants start fresh encroachment on Gulshan-Baridhara lake

Latest move for earth-filling stopped but makeshift structures are still there on the wetland


Plot claimants have erected makeshift structures to occupy Gulshan-Baridhara lake at Shahjadpur point.Photo: STAR

A number of private plot claimants have again started encroaching on the Gulshan-Baridhara Lake at Shahjahadpur ‘jheelpar’ point in violation of the Wetland Protection Act and a High Court ban.
The site, between Mariam Tower-1 and Gulshan-Shahjahadpur link road, is part of a lake development project undertaken by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk).
The plot claimants who had started earth-filling stopped it after Rajuk on March 11 filed a case with the Gulshan police under Wetland Protection Act in this connection, said Rajuk's Deputy Town Planner Abu Hasan Mortuza.
At least 10 of such claimants have occupied plots with makeshift structures, encroaching on the wetland along the lake bank opposite to Gulshan road no-103 and 105.
Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan, director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), said character of a wetland cannot be altered without prior approval of the government as per Wetland Protection Act of 2000.
The government, on the other hand, cannot approve changes in character of such land without making alternative arrangements in public interest, she said.
Rashed Chowdhury, a resident at Gulshan road-105 and convenor of Gulshan Society zone-4, said the plot claimants took a move to earth-fill the lake at the same point two to three years back, but stopped the work following media reports and Rajuk intervention.
A temporary road was built a couple of months back along the lake's Shahjadpur fringe by earth-filling the lake. After construction of the road, the plot claimants started earth filling into the lake to the west of the road to develop their plots.
Rajuk intervention stopped them this time too, but they resumed earth filling a week back, said Chowdhury.
On a visit to the site, several plots were found earmarked there in the names of different claimants with fresh earth filling.
One Haji Abu Sayed has demarcated and occupied one such plot with a semi-pucca structure. Mohammad Abdul Gani and Mohammad Abdur Rob jointly claim a 36-katha chunk of the wetland, erecting a makeshift structure.
One Haji Haidar Hossain who claims a 10-katha plot opposite to Gulshan road-105 was constructing a makeshift structure, with fresh signs of earth filling there.
All the plot claimants have employed their 'representatives' to take care of the 'plots'. But the 'representatives' declined to talk to this correspondent.
However, one of the plot claimants, Haidar Hossain, could be contacted. Though he claimed that he had bought the 10-katha plot in 1986 and that the site is not a part of the lake, he admitted that it goes under water during rainy season.
According to him, there are at least 15 plot claimants at the site.
The High Court on May 25, 2006, upon a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, passed an order restraining earth filling in the Gulshan Lake. The original allottee of Gulshan plot no-13 at road-32 filed the PIL petition.
Rajuk has undertaken a Tk 327.15 crore comprehensive project for development of the Gulshan-Banani-Baridhara Lake to protect it from encroachment. Tk 297.42 crore has been earmarked for land acquisition under the project.

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