Land reform policy is urgently needed

23 December 2022

There cannot be any second thought about it: as a nation, we have to ensure planned use of land. From the government, it is often said that we should ensure judicious use of our land, but it has done very little in this regard.
Bangladesh is the world's most densely populated country, but its land resources are limited. With each passing year the population is increasing, but land resources are remaining the same. Therefore, we have to check any kind of misuse of land so that we do not have to compromise with the agricultural use of land.
The country will have to feed its growing population and feed well at that, because an unhealthy population often turns into a burden for a nation. But ironically agricultural land is shrinking due to expansion of our industries, development initiatives and real estate needs. Though we cannot stop these activities, the prime need is now to utilise lands in a calculated way so that balanced development of our industrial and agricultural economies are guaranteed. To ensure this we need to have an appropriate land policy first and manage the land accordingly. This is very crucial.
True, we have to encourage both local and foreign investments, but industries must not be allowed to be set up injudiciously destroying the arable lands. While it is absolutely important to see new industries being built in the existing fallow lands, there is also the reality that there are less arable lands.
As a last means these infertile lands could be allowed for industrial growth. Even while doing this, maximum caution needs to be exercised. Then there is the overwhelming question of urbanisation. Over the last few decades Dhaka city's growth has been mostly horizontal than on the vertical lines. This has to be stopped. For this, there must be a strict control of land developers who, for earning profits, sacrifice marshy and arable lands around Dhaka city in the name of land development.
There is nothing to take pride in the capital's horizontal growth: Dhaka is every year ranked as one of the most unlivable cities in the world. For maximum utilisation of land the answer is Dhaka's vertical expansion. The relevant quarters must see this measure is given the utmost thrust for accommodating the growing number of people.

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