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Govt To Act Fast On 'Vested Property' Row PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 March 2009

A parliamentary watchdog has asked the land ministry to draft a bill which will set a six-month deadline for local authorities to compile a list of land officially gazetted under the Vested Property Act.

The parliamentary standing committee on the ministry at its meeting Wednesday said the bill would return about 2 lakh acres of land falsely seized in the name of vested property.

"We have recommended enacting a law setting a 180-day timeline for the district administration to dispose of all complaints related to ownership of land falsely shown in the list of vested property," AKM Mozammel, the committee chairman, told after the meeting.

He said there were hundreds of instances where land was listed as vested property to harass people. "The property was taken away by powerful local elites," he said.

The chairman said genuine vested properties were gazetted, those having no gazette could not be included in the vested property list.

"Local authorities should restore those lands to their original owners."

"The minister (Rezaul Karim Hira), too, has agreed that the estimated 2 lakh acres of land having no gazette should be disposed of by Dec. 31 this year after the passage of the proposed bill," said Mozammel.

The Awami League government in 2001, before its exit from power, enacted a law fixing a 180-day time limit to prepare a list of properly documented vested property in order to take steps to restore falsely seized lands.

But the BNP government by the end of 2001 amended the bill replacing the 180-day deadline with an 'indefinite period'. The list was not finished.

The Pakistan government in the 1960s enacted the law declaring the property of the Hindus, who left Pakistan and settled in India after partition in 1947, as 'vested' or 'enemy property'.

The controversial act is still in force, making hundreds of thousands of Hindus, and in some cases, Muslims, victims of repression and fraud.


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