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Eviction Drive At Mirpur

Resentment over demolition of houses sans compensation

Published : Sunday, 24 January, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 99
Walid Khan

In the ongoing eviction drive in Mirpur area to expand roads and bi-lanes the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has demolished thousands of buildings and infrastructures without paying any compensations to the land owners.
Although the city corporation authority claims that the road development works would help reduce traffic congestions and unnecessary sufferings of the local people, the victims claimed that the initiative was taken for the benefit of the real estate and housing companies.
Once the roads are expanded, price of their houses and flats will double. The widened roads would help attract more buyers for the housing companies. To get the benefit, the companies are expediting the demolition works by managing the local peoples' representatives.
While talking to the Daily Observer, some of the house and infrastructure owners claimed that the corporation is demolishing their infrastructures without paying any compensation. Instead,      the authority is compelling them to demolish the infrastructures from their own pocket.
Without giving any formal notice, the corporation officials verbally asked them to demolish parts of their infrastructures. Officials also asked them to leave three or four feet of space for expanding roads and lanes. As a result, some people have lost the most valuable land without any compensation. At the same time, the owners are bearing the expenses of the demolition work.
As a result, they are facing losses from both sides. But, the works will benefit only the housing and real estate companies. The corporation authority should ensure necessary compensation for the affected owners immediately, they claimed.
According to the witnesses, the demolition and road expansion work is now going on at Mirpur Ward No 13, 14, 15 and 16 as well as in the entire Mirpur area from the last two weeks or more.
The construction workers have been seen busy demolishing the buildings and other structures partially or fully. At the same time, some are working to reconstruct their structures leaving desired space for the expansion works.
Belayet Hossain, a house owner of Shewrapara told this correspondent, "We have built our houses here after buying crop fields. There was an isle between the two fields. After few years, we voluntarily gave some land for the constructing of an 8-feet road. Now the DNCC is constructing a 20 feet road by demolishing our houses and structures at the behest of the housing companies. But, there is no initiative to compensate us."
Mentioning that the real estate traders will benefit from the project, he said "Now-a-days, the road is being used more as the Dhaka Metro Rail-l project is going on. When the project will be complete, use of the road will reduce drastically."
"But, the real estate traders will get benefit if the road is widened" he said and added, "If the road is widened to 20 feet, the real estate traders will get permission to build multi-storey buildings. On the other hand, middle class homeowners like us will loss both our land and compensation."
When contacted, Councillor of Ward No 13 Ismail Mollah told this correspondent, "I have talked to the house owners in my area. Everyone is giving some land from their homes voluntarily for their own benefit. No one is pressurizing them."  
"We are discussing with few owners who are opposing the decision," Ismail added.  
Asked whether the homeowners would be compensated, the Ward Councillor said, "DNCC has not taken any initiative in this regard as yet. But, we have discussed with local parliament members for compensating the owners. He has not yet given his decision on the issue."
DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said, "The initiative is being implemented in association with the Ward Councillors and house owners."
Apart from evicting illegal establishments in Mirpur area, DNCC has started work to widen road to 20 feet.

Mayor Atiqul Islam told journalists, "We are working towards building a planned Dhaka." Initially, everyone thinks they are the loser. But thinking in long term it will actually benefit everyone.

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