Chittagong Hill Tracts: Implementation Committee Meets
At its 5th meeting, the CHT Accord Implementation Committee discussed three amendments and the overall situation facing the Hill Tracts in a cordial atmosphere in Dhaka.
Below is a press release issued by Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti:
On 28 May 2012 the 5th meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee was held at the office of the deputy leader of the Parliament of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban in Dhaka. The meeting started at 10.00 am and continued for more than two hours.
Presided over by convenor of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee and deputy leader Ms. Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, the meeting was attended by member of the committee Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, president of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura MP, chairman of the Task Force on rehabilitation of returnee refugees and IDPs. Besides, adviser to the prime minister on international affairs Dr. Gowher Rizvi was also present there on special invitation.
The agenda on amendment of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act of 2001, progress of implementation of the CHT Accord and overall situation in CHT were discussed in this meeting. It is learnt that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere.
In this meeting, the CHT Accord Implementation Committee stuck to its stand on three points in the draft proposals for amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act of 2001 and cancelled another proposal for involvement of Land Ministry, Ministry of CHT Affairs (MoCHTA) and CHT Accord Implementation Committee over the functions of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission. It is mentionable that CHT Regional Council (CHTRC) and Ministry of CHT Affairs (MoCHTA) had finalised a draft bill for amending the Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act of 2001 with 13 proposals and the CHT Accord Implementation Committee in its last meeting endorsed them for amendment, but the Land Ministry sought fresh opinion on four proposals.
The Land Ministry objected to the proposal for replacing the Section 6(1)(a) that reads “To settle the land related dispute of the rehabilitated refugees in accordance with the existing laws and customs in the Chittagong Hill Tracts” with “In addition to quick settlement of the disputes of lands of the rehabilitated tribal refugees to settle, all disputes of lands, which have been illegally given in settlement and occupied in accordance with the existing laws, customs and usages of Chittagong Hill Tracts”.
The Land Ministry objected to the proposal for dropping the sub-section of section 6(1)(c) that reads, ‘Provided that, this sub-section shall not be applicable in case of Reserved Forests, Kaptai Hydroelectricity Project area, Betbunia Earth Satellite Station, state-owned industries and land recorded with the Government or local authorities.’
The Land Ministry objected to the proposal for replacing the words “another two members” with “another three members” of the Section 7(3) that reads, “Attendance of the Chairman and another three members on the meeting shall be necessary for maintaining quorum and the Chairman of the commission shall preside over all meetings.”
The Committee decided in the meeting that the three proposals mentioned above would remain the same. The CHT Accord Implementation Committee also decided the following for implementation-(a) To place a bill for amending the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act of 2001, in the current budget session of parliament;
(b) To send draft bill for amending the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act of 2001 to the CHTRC to get its final consent prior to place in the parliament;
(c) To transfer the subject “Land and Land Management” to the Hill District Councils as soon as possible;
(d) To finalise the draft Rules of Business of the CHTRC and execution of the CHTRC complex project;
(e) To grant necessary fund for CHTRC’s office-cum-rest house in Dhaka and CHTRC complex project;
(f) To hold meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee in every month.
In his discussion, Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura raised to provide adequate fund to the Task Force on Rehabilitation of Returnee Refugees and IDPs for setting up its office, appointment of staff and logistics.
Mr. Larma raised the issues of declaration of a roadmap with timeframe in order to ensure effective implementation of CHT Accord, withdrawal of temporary camps, involvement of CHTRC in amending the NGO policy, controversial activities of chairman of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission etc.
Participating in the discussion on overall situation in CHT, Mr. Larma said that the CHT situation might go beyond control within the next couple of months if the government did not show visible progress in implementing the CHT Accord. The Jumma people do not want to hear promises anymore, they want deeds, he said.
Mr. Larma also informed the Committee about the anti-accord terrorist activities of the United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) and Bengali settlers and asked to the government to ban the UPDF. He also informed about recent grenade attack on the students of Hill Students Council (PCP) in Rangamati, killing of Anil Chakma in Laxmichari by armed group of the UPDF, heinous raping and killing of 11-year old Sujata Chakma in Longadu by Bengali settlers etc. Mr. Larma said that the CHT people are passing their life with fear and insecurity due to non-implementation of CHT Accord.