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3,600 acres of land under illegal occupation : No end to corruption in NHA, Secretary active to bring dynamism, discipline

3,600 acres of land under illegal occupation : No end to corruption in NHA, Secretary active to bring dynamism, discipline

Staff Correspondent

About 3,600 acres of land and plots of the National Housing Authority (NHA ) in the capital Dhaka have been in illegal occupation for years, the market value of which is around Tk 55,000 crore. Some 777 acres of land acquired in 7 mauzas and 9 sections of Mirpur Housing Estate has been in illegal occupation for nearly 40 years.

NHA officials and employees have also given opportunity to the squatters to build a market and multi-storied building on this land. Crores of taka are collected every month from illegally built markets and tin shed houses. This money was divided by officials, employees and influential people of the area. Because of this, the NHA is not interested in recovering this precious resource.

Apart from this, irregularities in allotment of plots, plots of the same size in the same section were sold at a lower price in exchange for facilities. On the other hand, despite not working as per the contract, the company paid the bill of 17 crores to the contractor. And although the deduction of Tk 3 crore 18 lakh was shown for income tax, VAT and security related to bill payment, the concerned officer embezzled it by withdrawing it from the bank instead of depositing it in the concerned sector.

Even if the flat is rented at a nominal price, 11 crores of rent is unpaid. National Housing Authority's plot-flat allotment-expenditure and related accounting compliance audit report has highlighted these irregularities. Any information on how much land is under illegal occupation in Housing A 12 and Rupnagar Extension 2nd Phase and Bastuhara Core House totaling 3615 acres of land 4619 residential plots, 226 commercial plots, 126 institutional plots, 318 industrial plots, 2480 rehabilitation plots, 6840 There are half-baked tinshed tinshed houses and 6856 nucleus houses constructed. But out of this only 474 residential plots (976 khata).

The Housing Authority has been able to provide the list or account. No information about the allocation, distribution or sale of the remaining 2 lakh 17 thousand 771 katha (10 thousand 889 bigha) of land has been found. CAG did not find any evidence that they were even in the possession of the authorities.

According to the report, if the allotment has been given, then there is no information about the possession of the authority if the ground charge at the rate determined by the housing authority has not been paid.

The report further states that 777 acres of land acquired in 7 mauzas and section 9 of Mirpur Housing Estate are uninventory and illegally occupied at the fixed price of Tk 11 thousand 755 crores.

A review of land acquisition and plot related documents and gazetted land details shows that 609 acres of land acquired between 1960 and 1962 in 7 mauzas of Mirpur Housing Estate were gazetted in 1970. Apart from this, a review of the minutes of a board meeting of the organization shows that Mirpur Section No - 9.

168 acres of gazetted and aligned land was handed over in favor of the National Housing Authority on September 8, 1981 for the construction of 11,264 residential flats in the section. The land has been occupied by illegal occupants. Although the land was acquired in 1981, the land was not freed from occupation even after 40 years. As a result, although a total of 777 acres of land is not in the possession of the authorities, no action has been taken to rescue them.

In Mirpur-1 section (south side opposite to Sony Cinema Hall) the land of 115 crores of Dhaka has been dispossessed as per the price set by the authorities due to the illegal construction of independent Bangla Super Market and other facilities on the authority's land.

Apart from this, it can be seen from the review of documents related to payment of land tax by the Executive Engineer under the National Housing Authority, Dhaka Division-2, that the Housing Authority has paid Tk 5 lakh 88 thousand 80 for 98 acres of land owned by the authority at the Land Office in Bangla 1426. Although the authorities took over the land from Rajuk in 1990, no inventory of the land was done, the sub-assistant engineer, accountant and team leader of the audit team actually verified the land of Dattapara Mauza.

It shows that 1,020 semi-finished tin shed houses, about three hundred illegal shops, many illegal buildings have been constructed on that land and some illegal multi-storied buildings are under construction. In this case, the authorities have not taken any legal action to stop construction of illegal structures or eviction. As a result, the government's property of 1 thousand 486 crore rupees has never been collected in 1990, but no rent or revenue has been collected. It is alleged that the concerned officers and employees collect the rent and divide it among themselves.

On the other hand, in 2019, 6 plots and house allotments (house no. 43, 160, 33, 95 and 225) were sold at the price of Tk 10 lakh 54 thousand 320 in section 5 of Mirpur, Dhaka.

According to this, the price of each plot and house has been determined and collected under 25 lakh 7 thousand taka. The audit department says administrative action should be taken against those responsible for the same financial loss.

Apart from this, there is a road as per the design between house no.11 and house no.10 of road no.4 in Mirpur Section-4 Rupnagar residential area and there is a playground connection with this road. But a building has been constructed occupying the public road between these two houses.

The NHA has given the opportunity to construct buildings by occupying at least 4 kata of land illegally. Similarly, 20 acres of land acquired 47 years ago in Mirpur Section No. 4 Due to non-inventory and non-occupation, land worth Rs 363 crore is lying vacant at the fixed value of the authorities. There are about 3000 houses in this land and from each house 5000 to 10000 taka is being collected ie 2 to 3 crore taka per month. But because the land is in illegal occupation, there is no opportunity for this money to accumulate in the treasury of the government or authorities.

On the other hand, a total of 288 houses in D-Type 8 buildings of Mohammadpur Housing Estate and 276 houses in other 11 buildings have been rented out to various classes of people at very low rates. A review of the rent collection statement shows that many houses are in illegal occupation since 1978. In many cases the allottee has transferred or rented out the house to another occupant in violation of the terms of the allotment deed. As a result, the unpaid rent of 576 houses in section 14 of Mirpur Housing Estate is Tk 11 crore 46 lakh.

There are also multiple houses occupied by the same person. For example, house number 17, 18 and 20 of D-type building. Hamidul Haque is in possession and he has not paid rent. Can live with family as per the terms of allotment; But can not pay rent. But most of the allottees have rented to other people. Similarly multiple houses are allotted to the same person. Allotment will be canceled only if 6 months rent is arrears as per allotment conditions. But the allotment was not canceled even though the rent was due for 20 years.

According to the National Housing Authority Act, 2000, government agencies must maintain and clear illegal encroachments and maintain an up-to-date inventory of government land. But the audit report mentions the illegal occupation of the land. The report commented that the huge amount of government property has been expropriated mainly due to giving illegal benefits to some people and due to the negligence of the officials.

According to the audit report, M/s Project Builders Ltd. was contracted with M/s Project Builders Limited to construct building No. 2 of residential flat construction project of Mirpur and 100 flat construction project of NHA but they did not complete the works.

However, Tk 17 crore 19 lakh 69 thousand 277 has been paid to the contractor through a cheque without the accountant's signature on the single signature of the executive engineer without the execution of the work. Tk 3 crore 18 lakh have been deducted for income tax, VAT and security associated with bill payment, but this money has been embezzled by withdrawing it from the bank without depositing it in the relevant sector. As a result, the government has paid Tk 21 crore 27 lakh 93 thousand without working, it is mentioned in the report.

On the other hand, due to non-performance of the construction work as per the contract, the work was canceled but the compensation for the remaining work was not collected as per the terms of the contract, the government suffered a loss of about 7 crore 59 lakhs.

Apart from this, due to non-recovery of liquidated damages and additional expenses imposed for the canceled work, the loss was Tk 25 crore 54 lakh.

The senior officials of the Ministry of Public Works said that huge properties of the NHA have been dispossessed for ages due to various irregularities, corruption and not being a people-friendly institution. From the top officials of the Housing Authority to the employees are involved in the irregularities. They build houses on illegally occupied land and plots and collect crores of rent among themselves

Divided. Due to this, no effective steps are taken to recover the land. However, the ministry has taken initiative to recover the vacated property, said Kazi Washi Uddin, secretary of the Ministry of Public Works. He said that efforts have been made to recover people's property.

If asked about this, Director of National Housing Authority (land and property management). Ahsan Habib told that the proposals received from the executive engineers of the Housing Authority to evict the illegal occupants are being sent to the ministry.

The chairman of the authority also asked for swift action on the eviction of the illegal occupants. All occupiers will be evicted in phases. He also said that steps have been taken to collect the outstanding house rent by making a list.

Kazi Wasi Uddin, Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works has taken various initiatives to eradicate the corruption and irregularities in the NHA. As a part of it an influential CBA leader and Clerk of NHA has been arrested due to corruption and forgery of certificated few months back. It has been appreciated by the people related to the service of NHA. T

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