In different accounts of LA branch
Staff Correspondent: A quarter of the ‘ancillary sector’ worth more than Tk2,000 crore in land acquisition is lying idle due to lack of expenditure policies. For 43 long years (1977-2020) this huge amount of money has been found as the LA branch of 24 District Commissioner offices of the country. A government report (CAG) has revealed the information about idleness. According to the concerned, if the accounts of all DC offices and LA branches are added up to this year, the amount will exceed Tk 2000 crore. But spending and withdrawal of this money is not possible.
On the other hand, an initiative was taken in 2008 to formulate the policy of incidental financial expenditure of acquisition. A draft is also prepared by the Ministry of Lands. But the Ministry of Finance objected by identifying various absurdities in the expenditure of money. The policy did not see the light of day for almost 15 years due to different opinions of the two ministries of land and finance. This information has come out in Daily Industry search.
Incidentally, when government institutions acquire land, money is deducted from the victims at the rate of 2 percent as expenditure in the ancillary sector. It is a type of indirect income of the government. The LA branch of the District Commissioner’s office is supposed to spend this money. Purchase of computer, printer, printer ink, internet parts, photostat machine, video camera, camera, scanner for carrying out acquisition activities. Apart from this, the purchase of survey equipment, digital survey machine, repair of purchased equipment and vehicles should be spent on other sectors. But since there is no policy on how much money will be spent in any sector, the government is not able to spend it even after collecting money from the victims. But for conducting such activities, the LA branch has spent from the core budget of the District Commissioner’s office. As a result, the amount of idle money is increasing day by day as the money collected by the government at the rate of 2 percent is not spent.
The government has been austerity spending since 2020 to deal with the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and the global recession. It has also made provisions to bring back unspent or surplus money after allocation to various organizations and departments. Although various programs have been taken to reduce expenditure, Tk 500 crore have been left year after year due to lack of policies.
Several Deputy Commissioners (DCs) said on condition of anonymity that it is not a right decision to lazily leave state money for ages. Despite knowing that, we (DC) can’t talk about it at the level. If the government takes this money in the treasury, it can spend in different sectors through the budget.
Land Secretary Khalilur Rahman in this regard told, we are going to take a measure in this regard immediately. Recently an inter-ministerial meeting was held on this. The DCs of various districts informed me about this. Hope it will be resolved soon. In response to the question whether the state can use the idle money in any other sector or related sector, the secretary said that it can’t be said at the moment. An inter-ministerial meeting will take a decision in this regard after looking at the situation.
The findings showed that 475 lands were acquired for development activities in 24 districts of the country from 1977-2020. At this time, Tk 486.32 crores were allocated in the ancillary sector for carrying out the acquisition activities with the compensation of the victims. Of this, Tangail DC office has about Tk 134 crore, Gazipur DC office has Tk 87 crore. Similarly, it has been seen that for 31 years from 1986-2017, about Tk 9 crore are lying in Mymensingh DC office. Besides, about Tk 23 crore are lying in Kishoreganj DC office till last 38 years (1981-2019). Besides, from 2018 to 2020, Jamalpur DC office has Tk 22 crore, Bogra Tk 32 crore, Khagrachari Tk 2 crore, Khulna Tk 49 crore and Barisal Tk 6 crore. There is also Tk 1 crore in Jhenaidah, Tk 16 crore in Gopalganj, Tk 53 crore in Madaripur, Tk 4 crore in Shariatpur, about Tk 13 crore in Narsingdi. Besides, Tk 28 crore in Comilla, Tk 10 crore in Rangpur, Tk 8 crore in Gaibandha, Tk 53 crore in Rajshahi, Tk 8 crore in Manikganj, Tk 20 crore in Sylhet, Tk 26 crore in Brahmanbaria, Tk 4 crore in Sunamganj and Tk 12 crore in Netrakona.
Khulna Deputy Commissioner Khandkar Yasir Arefin told that the incidental allocation for land acquisition cannot be spent due to lack of policy. Earlier, up to Tk one lakh could be spent on verbal instructions, but it was later stopped.
Investigation showed that Tk 1.65 crore is lying idle in the LA case (06-2017-2018) under the Executive Engineer of Tangail Water Development Board. In the same area, about 7.5 crores of LA case (10/2018-19) is lying. This money was allocated under the Sasek road project. Meanwhile, under the land acquisition of Dhaka Bypass Road Project in Gazipur, Tk 1.22 crore of ancillary sector has been allocated. Similarly, it has been seen that the incidental allocation of land acquisition for the project titled Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway is Tk 1.10 crore.
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