Monday, January 07, 2008

Back to Jessore - Renewed Hope!
November 30, 2007

Today I went back to Jessore with my attorney. We went around and talked to people and saw several pieces of land. There was one gentleman that we met who was extremely helpful. He owns a nursery and showed us a few properties. One piece of land was beautiful, but it was located off of the main road and was next to a brick factory, so unfortunately it would not work for the resort.

We saw a few other pieces of land - mostly open rice fields - in the same area where I found the first property I liked. While the areas were nice, I really want a plot that already has some mature trees on it, and open paddy fields do not fit that bill.

I have several specific requirements for the property:
- It is large enough to build 10 bungalows and a guest house
- It is located off of a small road (not the main road) between Jessore and Khulna
- There are mature trees on the property
- The land is not next to a marketplace or other houses (nilibili jaigai - quiet area)
- Preferably, the property is off of one of the many rivers in the area
- The price is reasonable and affordable

Unfortunately, none of the properties that we saw fit that bill. We went back to the Union Parishad office of the village where I found the first piece of land. We met a guy there who told us he knew of a piece of land that met my requirements. Monjurul and I went out to the property and as I was walking up the walk, I got really excited. It looked just like the first place I liked! Then, as we got closer I realized it WAS the first place I liked! We saw the owner sitting out front. I didn't want to bother him, but Monjurul told me that he thought that the guy really did want to sell, but couldn't say that in the marketplace because he was Hindu and the rest of the community was Muslim. Apparently saying that you want to sell your family's land is like saying that you don't like the community anymore.

I was a bit annoyed he didn't tell me this earlier, but we did go up and talk to the owner. As it turns out, Monjurul was right! The guy was willing to sell! There is a title issue with the land, however. In the past 100 years, Bangladesh has been owned by four different countries - Britain, India, Pakistan, and finally Bangladesh. The law states that in order to transfer the ownership of land, you have to have a document (called a porcha) that proves your ownership during each of the four periods. Because the owner's family had been on the land for a long time, he had the first three porchas, but apparently there was some issue with the fourth porcha. He told us that the government had finalized everything for the fourth porcha in 1993, but that the plans had never been filed with the Jessore District office, therefore he would be unable to sell.

The owner refused to discuss the price until the fourth porcha issue was cleared up, so I resolved to go back to Dhaka and see if I can get the fourth porcha.

I am really excited! It looks like I might get this piece of land after all!


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