Monday, January 22, 2018 | ePaper

Seminar emphasises rehab of minority landless people

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Staff Reporter :
Different corporations and organizations, including some government entities, are grabbing lands from minority groups in different parts of the country showing development purposes, social activists alleged on Sunday.
Besides, they pointed out, such grabbing is pushing minority groups, indigenous people to be landless, unproductive and marginal in the society.
The speakers urged the government and other organizations to stop such grabbing and pay adequate compensation to the land owners.
The call came from a seminar on Land Grabbing in Bangladesh: Diversity of Objectives and Mechanisms organised by the Association For Land Reform and Development (ALRD) at the National Press Club in the city.
Professor Dr Sapon Adnan presented the key-note paper at the seminar, chaired by Khushi Kabir, Coordinator of
 Nijera Kori, a non-government organisation. Professor of Economics at Dhaka University MM Akash, Ex- Senior Research Fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Dr Bimol Kumar Saha, Executive Director of ALRD Shamsul Huda, among others, spoke as panel discussants at the seminar.   
Professor Sapon Adnan pointed out that the government is developing Specialized Economic Zones, Export Processing Zones; Shrimp Zones as part of the development procedure in different parts of the country but compensation package is not adequate for the land owners. "Thus minority land owners lose their lands in exchange of low compensation," he said, suggesting that these minority landless people should properly be rehabilitated.
 "Due to bureaucratic complexities and corruptions in the internal systems of the government the land owners are not receiving enough compensations with which they could rehabilitate them. Rehabilitation is another complex procedure; one can't buy lands overnight due to social complexities," Adnan added.
"Elites are developing different industries, facilities without considering rights of minority groups. Exposing power they are taking away those lands which were the last resort for them," said Khushi Kabir.
Some speakers pointed out that the Department of Forest is acting as the aggressive land grabber for creating social forestations in the hill tracts of the country. Cox's Bazar, Bandarban, Pabna, Noakhali regions are highly affected by devastating land acquisition to form social forest, they said.
Moreover, not only indigenous groups are losing lands, because of social forestation natural biodiversity and natural forests have been wiped out radically, resulting in disasters in the region.
"Different housing societies are buying out lands, including water bodies, low lands and agricultural lands. They are also grabbing lands in the name of acquisition, leasing in Gazipur and Savar," Dr Bimol Kumar Saha mentioned.

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