Source: The Daily Star, Dhaka, Monday, October 25, 2010
Army officials kept track of land sale
The army men would keep close watch on land registration in Rupganj from four camps and a makeshift office they set up next to local land offices.
They would sit at the registry office every day to see if anyone is selling or buying land on the proposed site for their private housing project, said land officials and villagers in Rupganj and Kayetpara unions.
“It's true that they [army officials] used to come here daily to watch land registration and collect a list,” said Sub-registrar Manirul Haque Prodhan.
“We had informed our higher authorities about it,” he added.
Titled “Army Housing Scheme (AHS)”, the project is spread over 20 moujas, said registry office sources.
According to the Bangladesh Army website (www.army.mil.bd/search/node/AHS), it is self-financed and will have around 7,000 plots. The approval for it is “under process”.
Locals said the AHS authorities fixed the land price in Rupganj and Kayetpara at Tk 16 lakh a bigha, much lower than the current market price.
They also alleged that many villagers were not allowed to sell land to anyone other than army officials.
“I wanted to sell seven decimals of land to my cousin. But the army did not allow me to do that even after I had taken some money in advance and completed mutation of the land,” Alauddin Mia of Kamsair village told this correspondent.
“I went to the land office thrice, but in vain,” he added.
Iman Ali from the same village said the army men do not let them register an Eidgah (open-air mosque to perform Eid prayers) as Wakf (bestowed) property.
Safiluddin Mia of Khamarpara village said he got Tk 9 lakh for 15 decimals of land he sold to the AHS through a broker named Zahed Ali.
However, documents at the registry office show the land (registration number TO 728/10) was bought for Tk 4.70 lakh.
Asked why a lower price was recorded, a land official said, “People hide the actual price because the lower the price the less they pay in taxes.”