Airport plan protested

Leaders and activists of Arial Beel Rakkha Committee has termed the government decision of building Bangabandhu International Airport and a satellite city covering the Arial Beel unscientific, illegal, and irrational.

The committee members also urged the government to cancel the decision saying it would severely affect the environment and livelihood of people in the Beel area, the biggest wetland near the capital.

They made the call at a press conference at the National Press Club yesterday.

The proposed site of the airport covers more than 25,000 acres of land in three upazilas of Dhaka and Munshiganj districts.

Prof Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury, an advisor to the committee, said they are surprised that the government took such a major decision without any feasibility survey.

“Around 10 lakh people are directly and indirectly depended on the wetland for their livelihood. If the project is implemented, hundreds of families would be evicted from their predecessors’ lands and many people will become unemployed,” he said.

From the sudden move for acquiring lands in Arial Beel, it appears that the government is playing the role of a land grabber, Engr M Inamul Haque, another advisor to the committee, alleged.

Around 25 lakh tonnes of rice is harvested annually from the lands in Arial Beel. If the lands are acquired for other purpose, it may pose a threat to the country’s food security, he said.

Construction of airport should be on hard soil. But the area is constituted of soft soil, he said adding, “It is impossible to build airport there.”

“I guess, after grabbing the lands, the government will hand it over to others,” he alleged.

Member secretary Saidur Rahman Sayeed said the people of the area are ready to sacrifice their lives to resist the construction work.

Committee convenor Shahjahan Badal and its advisor F R Al Siddique, among others, were present.

daily star

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