Patuakhali dist admin acquires centuries-old Rakhine village in Kalapara

Patuakhali district administration has acquired an entire Rakhine village for the development work of Payra sea port.

The Rakhine village of ‘Chaanipara’, which was founded in 1784 in Tiakhali union of Kalapara Upazila of the district, is now on the verge of extinction.

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Hundreds of Rakhine families used to live here back then. However, there are only 68 families left now with total population of 30 including 18 men, 10 women and 2 children.

The district administration has acquired the whole village covering an area of 5.50 acres of land for the development work of Payra sea port. The village also has a Rakhine temple and the people of these six families are in the service of this temple.

According to Rakhine custom, those who are in the services of the temple do not own land. They only own immovable properties such as houses and trees on the land.

The district administration has also fixed the value of the movable property of these families at Tk 91.46 lakh. Ching Chamo or Damo Rakhine, leader of the village has also submitted an application to the deputy commissioner to get the money. They also demanded rehabilitation.

Damo Rakhine said, “The district administration has acquired 5.50 acres of land in our ‘Chaanipara’ and a letter has been given to each of us determining the value of our houses and trees. We have not yet received the compensation money. We also need rehabilitation. A meeting was held with the district administration on Monday regarding our demands. The administration has also assured us that immediate steps would be taken to implement our demands.”

Umme Habiba Majumder, assistant commissioner, land acquisition unit of Patuakhali District Administration said, “We have acquired land in favor of the Payra Port. The houses, trees and fish of the Rakhine families living in Chaanipara have been valued at Tk 91.46 lakh. We also gave a notice on June 5 to pay this money.

Meanwhile, on June 8, a man named Sadequr Rahman lodged a complaint against the payment of compensation. The complaint is scheduled to be heard on July 15. I believe it will not be too complicated.”

Contacted, Deputy Commissioner Kamal Hossain said, “A meeting was held in my office today (Monday) in the presence of the Payra Port officials on Chhanipara issue.”

“I have heard their demands which are very logical. They will get the compensation soon. And they will be rehabilitated wherever they want. However, as long as the rehabilitation cannot be done, they will be able to stay in the place of their choice. If necessary, the rent will be borne by the port authorities. The Rakhine leader has also agreed to that end,” the DC said.

Mahmudul Hasan, assistant director of the Payra Port Authority, said on his mobile phone on Sunday, “I have no authority to talk about this. Talk to the secretary or chairman of the port.”

Later, this correspondent tried to reach the chairman of the port Commodore Humayun Kallol for his comment but he didn’t receive the call.