DC halts overpriced land acquisition, AL demands his removal

Manikganj sadar upazila Awami League holds a human chain and rally on 25 May 2023.Prothom Alo

Awami League (AL) leaders and activists have held a human chain and rally on the Manikganj press club premises, demanding the removal of the district’s deputy commissioner (DC), Abdul Latif.

The speakers, under the banner of sadar upazila Awami League, warned of waging tougher movement if the demand is not met. However, DC Abdul Latif refused to comment over the issue when he was contacted over the phone.

Sadar upazila Awami League president and upazila parishad chairman Israfil Hossain presided over the programme. The participants termed the DC as corrupt and alleged that he made indecent remarks against the government, the ruling party, ministers, political leaders and public representatives.

Sultanul Azam Khan, former joint secretary of AL's Manikganj district unit, said health minister Zahid Maleque spearheaded the developments in the district.

He implemented development projects worth billions of taka. But the DC set barriers to a project of Essential Drugs Company Limited (EDCL), though it is expected to create employment for many youths.

Other local leaders of Awami League and its associate organisations also spoke at the event.

Meanwhile, the DC office sources said a Tk20 billion project was undertaken to shift an EDCL plant from Dhaka to Manikganj. The authorities proposed to acquire 31.5 acres of land in the Meghshimul area of the district.

In the meantime, the land was filled with sand and elevated to the upper category in the official record, apparently to swindle extra money from the government. Also, the official rate for each decimal of land was hiked to Tk 120,000 from the previous rate of Tk 25,000, while the adjacent lands remained at the previous rate.

The district administration reported the issue to the health services division in a letter and said the government can save a huge sum of money if the project is implemented in a different land.

The land acquisition process came to a halt after the letter was sent on 5 February.

But it angered the followers of the health minister. Later, local AL leaders held the human chain and rally around 11:00 am on Thursday.