Chittagong Hill Tracts: Memorandum For Amendment Of CHT Land Commission Act
PCJSS condemns the unilateral initiatives concerning the CHT Land Commission Act 2001 and demands its immediate amendment.
Below is an article published by PCJSS CHT:
On 29 April 2013 the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) organised public meeting in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office of Rangamati district and submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh demanding immediate amendment of contradictory provisions of the CHT Land Disputes Resolution Commission Act 2001 as per decision of the 4th and 5th meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee and inter-ministerial meeting held on 30-07-2012 with Law Minister in the chair.
Presided over by vice president of PCJSS Mr. Ushatan Talukdar, the gathering was addressed by assistant information and publicity secretary of PCJSS Mr. Sajib Chakma, general secretary of Rangamati district branch of PCJSS Mr. Nilotpal Khisa and general secretary of Hill Student Council Mr. Jyotisman Chakma Bulbul. The meeting was conducted by staff member of central office of PCJSS Mr. Udayan Tripura.
It is mentionable that after assuming the state power by the Awami Laegue-led grand alliance, on 7 May 2009 the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council (CHTRC) once again sent the 19 point recommendations for amendment of contradictory provisions of the CHT Land Disputes Resolution Commission Act 2001 to the government. After that, a dozen of meetings over the amendment of contradictory provisions of the Act were held at different levels. At a stage, on 20 June 2011 Ministry of CHT Affairs (MoCHTA), having consultation with CHTRC, finalised 13-point amendment proposals of the Act and sent them to Land Ministry for taking necessary initiative to place before the Cabinet as well as Parliament for final adoption. Later on, the 13-point proposals for amendment of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act was adopted in the 4th and 5th meeting of CHT Accord Implementation Committee held on 22 January 2012 and 28 May 2012 respectively and also Inter-ministerial Meeting held on 30 July 2012 with the Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed in the chair.
But the Land Ministry officials particularly the Land Secretary Mr. Mokhlesur Rahman and other officials continued opposing the most vulnerable recommendations of 13-point amendment proposals, such as, the Functions of Powers of the Commission [section 6(1)(c)], Quorum of the Commission meeting [section 7(3)], Procedure of resolving land disputes and adoption of decision [7(5)] etc.
On the face of the opposition of the Land Ministry officials and Armed Forces Division of the Prime Minister’s office, the Law Ministry did not make the minutes of inter-ministerial meeting held on 30 July 2012. Alternatively, it is learnt that, on 9 April 2013, the Law Ministry chaired by Law Minister organised another meeting with the Land Minister Barrister Rezaul Karim Hira and the Land Secretary Mr. Mokhlesur Rahman in which the State Minister of MoCHTA Mr. Dipankar Talukdar and one Joint Secretary Mr. Basudev Acharya, Dr. Gowher Rizvi (Advisor to the PM on International Affairs) and his personal secretary Mr. Debabrata Chakraborty were present. The Home Minister Dr. Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, who was involved in the process of signing the CHT Accord of 1997, also was present. In the said meeting, amendment proposals of CHTRC were reviewed again. The Land Secretary Mr. Mokhlesur Rahman placed opinion for modification on few most vulnerable proposals and the said meeting decided to prepare minutes as per opinions of Land Secretary which are against the final decision of the inter-ministerial meeting held on 30 July 2012. It is also learnt that based on this minutes, presently Land Ministry is drafting the Bill for amendment of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001.
If the CHT Land Disputes Resolution Commission Act 2001 were amended modifying the most vulnerable issues, such as, the Functions of Powers of the Commission, Quorum of the Commission Meeting, Procedure of resolving land disputes and adoption of decision, it would be more defective and it would create more complication in resolving CHT land disputes. With this backdrop, PCJSS organized procession and submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister demanding-
(1) to stop such unilateral and controversial initiatives for amendment of the CHT Land Disputes Resolution Commission Act 2001 as per opinion of officials of Land Ministry including its Secretary and
(2) to amend the CHT Land Disputes Resolution Commission Act 2001 as per decision of the 4th and 5th meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee and inter-ministerial meeting headed by Law Minister held on 30-07-2012.