By Anas Khwaja
Pinaki Roay wrote a series of columns on Bhawal Estate. “A kingdom lost to grabbers” and “Pvt project on public land Developer gobbled up 202 acres at courtesy of 4-party govt’s land ministry” were published on January 23 and January 24 respectively.
These research papers explain– ever since the Court of Wards became the custodian nearly 100 years ago, it has silently witnessed how 99.52 percent of the original 30,421 acres of Bhawal land slip off their hands. Earlier on Jan 4 2011, co author Morshed Ali Khan and Pinaki Roy published “Bhawal Estate 1: A kingdom of neglect” on the same newspaper.
Rights organization Society for Justice filed a petition after The Daily Star ran these series of reports on the grabbing of Bhawal estate land.
On January 25th 2011 the high court bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain asked the government to form a committee in a week and submit a report in this regard within three months. The bench issued a rule upon the government to explain within three weeks why it should not be directed to take appropriate steps to protect public property.
Fate of the acres of “Khas Land” of the Dhaka Nawab Estate is same as “Bhawal Estate”. Officials working with the Land Reform Board say the onslaught on the estate peaked in the last 20 years when land prices soared with the arrival of real estate companies. Is there any lesson to be leraned from Bhawal Estate’s land recovery process mentioned above?