The highest echelons of the government have strict instructions not to set up places on agricultural land. Even then, establishments are being built in the country by destroying agricultural land at both public and private levels. The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has started such an activity. The company has asked for 50 acres of land to set up a flower research center in Jhikargachha upazila of Jessore. It is entirely agricultural land. The Planning Commission has informed that so much agricultural land cannot be given for that.
According to the Agricultural Research Institute, it is important to set up a modern research center in the country to intensify research on flowers and ornamental plants. With such a research center, improved varieties of native flowers as well as ornamental plants can be invented. If this land is obtained from the government, it will be possible to export flowers abroad by meeting the demand of the country.
Barry created a project called ‘Flower Research Center’ and sent it to the Planning Commission for approval. The cost of acquiring 50 acres of land in this project of Tk 241 crore has been estimated at Tk 128 crore. The entire money has been sought from the state treasury.
Meanwhile, after Bari sent the proposal, Planning Minister MA Mannan, State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam and other senior officials of the Planning Commission sat in the meeting. The meeting raised questions about why so much agricultural land is needed to build a flower research center. There the instructions of the Prime Minister were presented. The Prime Minister has a clear directive to ensure the best use of agricultural land. In order not to waste agricultural land, it cannot be set up anywhere. The meeting agreed that allocating 50 acres of agricultural land for setting up a flower research center would not be reasonable.
Matiur Rahman, Additional Secretary, Planning Commission (Agriculture and Rural Development) , told Prothom Alo , “We have said that 50 acres of land cannot be given for setting up a flower research center. It would not be right to destroy agricultural land and build other buildings including residential ones. If land is needed, it can take one to two acres, not more. There is another way. That is, there is a flower shop in Jessore, which can be further expanded to be a research center.
Meanwhile, under the project, it has been proposed to allocate around Tk 3 crore for training and educational trips of 50 officials abroad for learning flower research, about which the Planning Commission has questions.
When asked, Barry Director (Planning and Evaluation) Reena Rani Saha said, “We will not use 50 acres of land for non-agricultural purposes. It will be used in agriculture. There will be research on flowers. Very little infrastructure will be built on 50 acres of land. “Since the proposal has not yet been approved, I don’t want to say anything about it,” he said, referring to the officials’ travel trips abroad to learn research on flowers.
Jhikargachha in Jessore has previously had a flower processing center funded by USAID. But there is also a problem with land acquisition, which has not yet been resolved.
Officials of the Planning Commission say that several infrastructures have already been built in Gadkhali of Jessore with flowers. It is important to know what kind of benefits are coming from them.
Under this project, BARI has plans to construct residential and non-residential buildings on 50 acres of land. The company wants to build a six-storey building on a six-storey foundation and a four-storey building on a four-storey foundation.