Due to climate change triggered erosion, thousands become homeless every year, taking refuge on newly emerged char lands. One such is Dhalchar, though the people living here have not had peace in their lives.
For half a century, they have been fighting against looters, land grabbers and crop stealers. Administration’s presence here is minimal and despite the presence of a police station, everything happens at the wish of the local influential quarter.
Though around five thousand homeless people from Hatia and Bhola have been living here since the sixties, facing natural calamities and other adversities, they have not had any official recognition of the land on which they live.
On the contrary, it’s believed that the land office has eyes on their land.
Forestation on the char began in 1973-74 and 770.04 hectares of land saw afforestation.
As per reports, development work started here after the 1991 cyclone and cyclone shelters, hospitals, mosques were constructed.
All these were constructed with the assistance of a former government secretary.
Since there is a demarcation related dispute here, there is talk that plots will be realigned.
This means, many homeless people may be evicted from their current places.
Such a move by the land office is deemed a conspiracy. The locals say that the actual plan is to evict the homeless and occupy land for projects. Already, a fish farm and a rest house have been built on one part of the char.
Hatia zila upazila officer, Mohamamd Nur E Alam, says: “I have heard of Dhalchar; “there have been several legal cases and administrative initiative will be taken to settle the matter.”
Locals accuse former energy secretary Nazim Uddin Chowdhury and his uncle, Kalam Chowdhury for occupying a section of the char.
Reportedly, they evicted many homeless and occupied land.
Executive Director of Transparency International, Bangladesh, Dr. Iftekharuzaman said: “the state cannot treat her subjects in this prejudiced manner.”
It’s the duty of the state to provide equal opportunities to her citizens and eventually the government will have to bear the responsibility for such violation of rights.