Land use master plan

Work it out immediately

Published : 28 Nov 2023 09:13 PM

We express serious concerns over disappearing of country’s arable land. The agricultural land in the country decreases by one percent every year, according to a study.

In this way if two lakh acres of land are lost every year, then at last there will be no more agricultural land. All these lands are going into the hands of non agriculture sector like housing, industrialisation and other purposes under the very nose of the authorities concerned.

By filling croplands, residential dwellings, roads, various infrastructures like high rise buildings, factories, industries, hotels, resorts and other business establishments are being built there indiscriminately across the country.Besides, brick kilns are also destroying the arable lands in many ways alongside polluting the environment. Of the lost or disappeared lands, many lands were triple-cropped ones.

Taking the issue seriously, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a cabinet meeting on Monday directed the authorities concerned to work out a master plan for every upazila over using land. Every upazila should have a master plan in terms of land use. 

The master plan will ensure rational use of land in the development process. The authorities concerned must monitor so that houses and industries cannot be built here and there or land could not be used in any other way.

Once the master plan is formulated, it will bring discipline in using land. Some 40, 0016 lakh acres of arable land has disappeared from the country in the last one decade.

The total arable land in the country is now 186.81 lakh acres which was 190.97 lakh acres as per the previous Agriculture Census in 2008. Besides, the total barren land amounted to 2.44 lakh acres which was 1.5 lakh acres as per the previous Census.

Once the master 

plan is formulated, 

it will bring discipline 

in using land

Although agriculture now contributes to around 11.50 percent of country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but its contributions is enormous in terms of ensuring food security as country’s around 40 percent of the workforce is being engaged in agriculture. If this unhealthy trend is not stopped immediately, the country will face serious difficulties in ensuring the food security for its growing population in the future.

We already see the trend as a matter of concern as our country is largely dependent on agriculture and the farmers are helping us live by producing crops. As this sector is the pillar of Bangladesh, we cannot think any alternative option but the agricultural economy for the country’s sustainable development.

We still see the non-agricultural use of land continues showing an upward trend despite various steps by the government. Bangladesh is progressing ahead and soon it will be a middle income country from the lower middle income.

But the government’s goal will not be sustainable if the country does not have enough land to produce its own food. If arable land is not protected from such destruction, country’s future will see extinction. So, the government must pay attention to protecting farmland for the development of sustainable agriculture. All concerned must be more conscious as the country’s crop productivity will come down drastically due to continuous declining of arable land.To this end, the government will have to undertake a combined planning on agriculture by annexing urban agriculture with the mainstream agriculture so that the country can face the future challenges. 

Once the master plan is formulated, our crop land will be protected. So, it is very essential right now to protect the cultivable land at any cost to make the country’s food security intact.

Bangladesh will definitely go for industrilisation for country’s development, but not bypassing the agriculture as the development  largely depends on agriculture. No more industries should be allowed on arable lands particularly in triple-cropped ones.

Therefore, the authorities concerned especially, the local government division will do everything possible to formulate the master plan as per the prime minister’s directive.