Locals formed a human chain on Friday urging the government to take necessary steps for protection of the historic palace of Raja Jadunath Roy at Balasur in Bhagyakul under Sreenagar upazila.
An NGO named ‘Agrasar Bikrampur Foundation’ took ‘illegal’ lease of 5.71 acres of land at the archaeological site and causing damage to its heritage in the name of building a museum and cultural complex there, said speakers at the programme.
They demanded cancellation of the lease.
Former vice chancellor of National University Prof Dr Durga Das Bhattacharya, Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity central committee Tapash Paul and writer Salam Azad took part in the programme, among others, from Dhaka.
“There is no provision of leasing such an area according to the existing laws,” Durga Das Bhattacharya said after visiting the spot.
The zamidar bari ((Jadunath Roy’s palace), generator, water pump, launch terminal, temple and many other architectural instances are being destroyed as the site has been illegally leased to a vested interest group, said Salam Azad.
According to Sreenagar upazila land office, about 250 acres of land earlier owned by Jadunath Roy, a former zamindar in the area, is listed as vested property but about half of the lands were leased to several people during the periods of different governments.
A large portion of the remaining area is under illegal occupation, locals alleged.
Ten acres of land at the palace site including four temples, three large ponds and five buildings have already been occupied, they said.
Several locals including Moazzem Hossain Mithu, Halima Begum, Majeda Begum, Babul Majhi and Azahar Hossain said they were staying outside the zamindar bari after taking lease but the NGO is now evicting them to grab the whole site.
When contacted, President of Munshiganj chapter of Agrasar Bikrampur Foundation Jahangir Hasan denied the allegations against them and said, “The museum has been made in the greater interest of all. We have not removed anything.”
The chief of Agrasar Bikrampur Foundation, also a central leader of ruling Awami League, could not be contacted for his comment.
Sreenagar Upazila Land Officer Syeda Noor Mahal Ashrafi said the zamindar bari was leased to Agrasar Bikrampur Foundation as per rules.
Courtesy of The Daily Star