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Law to protect haat and bazaar land

One-year jail, Tk 5 lakh fine for flouting law

Published : 26 Feb 2023 01:49 AM | Updated : 27 Feb 2023 02:55 AM

The 'Hat and Bazaar (Establishment and Management) Act, 2023', prohibits the occupying of state-owned Khas land illegally in any hat and bazaar and constructing any establishment on such lands.

As per the law, if anyone or a group of people violate the law, will be fined up to Tk 5 lakhs or get one year of imprisonment or both.

Offenses under this Act will be tried in judicial courts and may also be tried in mobile courts where appropriate.

Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury on February 9 proposed the Hat and Bazaar (Establishment and Management), 2023 bill to the JatiyaSangsad (House of the Nation).

The bill was later drafted by the Ministry of Land and became law without any significant changes.  

The Ministry of Land is expected to soon frame rules under the act as it was gazetted on February 13.

As of the fiscal year 2021-22, there are a total of 10,273 Hat and Bazaar across the country. Of these, the government generates revenue of approximately Tk 744 crore from 7,972 leased Hat and Bazaar.

The Ministry of Land is working to establish sustainable land management practices by introducing digital services, revising laws and regulations, and drafting new laws where necessary. 

Some of the notable laws being developed include the Land Crime Prevention and Redress Act, Land Ownership and Use Act, Land Reforms Act, Land Development Tax Act, Acquisition and Requisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Act, and Land Rights Receiving Act.

The Hat and Bazaar Act also contains a provision for the construction of modern, multi-storied market building 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 settlements or leasing of any land in Hat and Bazaars is prohibited, with only annual leasing allowed. 

Additionally, a reserved empty space in the Hat and Bazaars must be used as a "Toha Bazar" for temporary seating for farmers and petty traders, which falls outside regular leasing. 

Along with permanent Hat and Bazaar, the Act also allows for the establishment of temporary Hat and Bazaar.

The authorities responsible for establishing the Hat and Bazaar 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 Haat and Bazaar, as well as collecting tolls, taxes, rates, or fees, as applicable.

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

As per the law, the term ‘Hat and 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.

The Haat and Bazar (establishment and management) Bill 2023 was passed in the parliament replacing an Ordinance of 1959 to make it a time-befitting one.

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