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Hats and Bazars supervision and management under smart land service -Land Secretary

December 6, 2023 6:15 pm
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Land Secretary Md. Khalilur Rahman said that supervision and management of Hats and Bazars are being brought under smart land service.

He said this while speaking as the chief guest at a workshop on the formulation of Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Management) Rules 2023 at the conference room of the Ministry of Land at the Secretariat today. Chairman of Land Appeal Board A K M Shamimul Haque Siddiqui, Chairman of Land Reform Board Md Abdus Sabur Mondal, BPAA, and officials of different levels of the Ministry of Land and its offices/agencies were present in the workshop.

The land secretary also said that as part of bringing management under smart land management, the information of Hats and Bazars is being uploaded to the Land Data Bank. It will be possible to lease out Hats and Bazars more efficiently and revenue will increase through proper use of the country’s resources. Above all, the people of the country will get the benefit.

Note, as per the law, the term ‘Hat and Bazar’, Hat or Bazaar refers to any location where the general public purchases and sells agricultural produce, fruits, animals, poultry, eggs, fish, meat, milk, dairy products, food and beverages, industrial products, and daily necessities on a daily basis or a specific day of the week. This also encompasses shops established in such locations for the sale and purchase of these products. As of the fiscal year 2021-22, there are a total of 10,273 Hats and Bazars across the country. Of these, the government generates revenue of approximately Tk 744 crore from 7,972 leased Hats and Bazaars.

The Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Management), 2023 Bill was proposed to the Jatiya Sangsad (House of the Nation) on February 9th by Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury. The bill was drafted by the Ministry of Land and became law without any significant changes. It was gazetted on February 13th. The work of formulating its rules is currently underway and it is expected that it will be possible to formulate it very soon.

With the enactment of the ‘Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Management) Act, 2023’, the ‘Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Acquisition) Ordinance, 1959’ was repealed. The ‘Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Management) Act, 2023’, prohibits the grabbing of government-owned Khas land in the Hats and Bazars or any unauthorized construction (or attempting construction) on such land. Violators of this law face penalties of up to one year of simple imprisonment, a fine of up to Taka 5 lakhs, or both.

The Hats and Bazars Act also contains a provision for the construction of modern, multi-storied market buildings using government, private, or foreign funding in the public interest, with the prerequisite of obtaining government permission. The management and distribution of income from the market complex will be carried out in accordance with prescribed procedures.

Under the new law, permanent settlement or leasing of any land in Hat and Bazar is prohibited, with only annual leasing allowed. Additionally, a reserved empty space in the Hat and Bazar must be used as a “Toha Bazar” for temporary seating for farmers and petty traders, which falls outside regular leasing. Along with permanent Hats and Bazar, the Act also allows for the establishment of temporary Hat and Bazar.

The authorities responsible for establishing the Hats and Bazars can form management committees at the district, upazila, municipality, city corporation, and union parishad levels to oversee all activities, including maintenance and development, conducting the daily activities of the Haats and Bazaars, as well as collecting tolls, taxes, rates, or fees, as applicable.

The ownership of Hats and Bazars will be under the Ministry of Land as per the law, and any establishment of Hat or  Bazar on land in violation of the provisions may result in the government confiscating the land and all its establishments.