Chittagong Hill Tracts: Press Release: Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS)
Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) observes with grave concern that despite the tenure of the 9th Parliament is almost reaching to its ending phase, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Land Ministry has mysteriously kept pending its review on the Bill tabled for amendment of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001 as yet.
Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) observes with grave concern that despite the tenure of the 9th Parliament is almost reaching to its ending phase, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Land Ministry has mysteriously kept pending its review on the Bill tabled for amendment of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001 as yet. As a result, the issue of getting the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001 has landed in an extreme uncertainty. It is learnt that the session of the 9th Parliament is going to over after holding session for 5 days from 20th to 24th October following the holidays on the occasions of Durga Puja and Eid.
It is noteworthy that on 27 May 2013 the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Amendment) Act 2013 Bill was placed before the Cabinet, which approved it on 3 June 2013. On 16 June 2003, it was introduced in the Parliament for adoption and the Parliament sent it to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Land Ministry, for its review. It is also worthy to be mentioned further that from among the 13-point amendment proposals, which was finalized by CHT Regional Council and Ministry of CHT Affairs and duly approved by the CHT Accord Implementation Committee and adopted in the Inter-Ministerial Meeting chaired by the Law Minister on 30 July 2013, only 10-point amendment have been included in the Bill. The remaining 3 significant points for amendment have been completely excluded in one hand while 2 points out of the 10 points for amendment proposal have not been set in the Bill properly. Hence, in order to bring proper modification to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Act, five- point amendment proposals were submitted to the government on the part of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti on 18 June 2013.
In perspective of the amendment proposal as aforesaid, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Land Ministry held its first meeting in the Cabinet Hall of the Parliament in which, the points of demand for amendment were put up by the PCJSS again. Following this, the Parliamentary Standing Committee held its 2nd meeting wherein the Committee had a motivated move by inviting some upstart organisations, such as, Parbatya Juba Front, Parbatya Nagarik Parishad, Bangalee Chatra Parishad, who are opposing CHT Accord including Land Commission. The Parliamentary Committee held its last meeting on 3 October 2013 but despite the issue of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Amendment) Act 2013 Bill topped the agenda, the Committee put it aside without any form of discussion. It has been learnt from a reliable source that the government has adopted the ‘go slow policy’ and as a part of it, the issue has been kept hanging with the Committee without drawing any conclusion.
Such policy adopted by the government is a breaching of election commitment towards full implementation of CHT Accord and PCJSS treats this behavioral pattern of the government as manifestation of its inherent reluctance in implementing the Accord. It needs not to be reiterated that the initiative to bring amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act has been intended as a part of implementation of the CHT Accord and to that end, after sending the Bill from the Parliament to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, basically, the Bill so placed before the Parliament was supposed to be heard in the Parliamentary Committee aiming to make it corresponding to the Accord. But it has become an issue of grave concern that those quarters, who have been opposing the Accord including the Land Commission since the very inception by way of spreading various confusing designs in a motivated manner, are the Sama Odhikar Andolan, Parbatya Juba Front, Parbatya Nagorik Parishad, Bangalee Chhatra Parishad, etc. the invitation of leaders belonging to such upstart organizations to the Parliamentary Standing Committee meeting can be regarded as not to be of good gesture towards implementation of the Accord.
More than four and a half of the years have been exhausted out of 5-year tenure of the present government in finalizing the proposal for amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act, 2001. However, the Bill of ‘CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act, 2001’ was placed before the Parliament and that too, with defects. Afterwards, though the Parliamentary Standing Committee held meetings for 3 times, at last without drawing any decision, the issue of bringing amendment to the Bill was kept pending mysteriously. It is needless to say that despite various impediments the task of amendment to the Act that has been brought to its final stage through employing intense patience and relentless efforts, metaphorically may be ascribed to be ‘capsize near the shore’ as the government is all set to spoil the much-toiled achievement by adopting the ‘go slow policy.’
The anguish and resentment that got deposited the among the mass people for not meeting the election commitment to their expectation within the tenure and the possibility that was handy to mitigate the mass discontentment at least to some extent by bringing amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act, 2001, it is quite sure that the possibility will die out due to recoiling policy of the government in bringing amendment to the Act. Moreover, the wrath and resentment of the Jumma peoples against the government will get heightened. Not only so, such retreat of the government also portrays a negative sign towards all other indigenous groups living in the country, which can never be wellbeing for ruling Awami League. As a result of keeping the issue of amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act, 2001 hanging so the resolutions to the land disputes in CHT will be delayed in one end, the disputes over lands will get more and more intricate on the other. At this the existing conflicts and problems over the lands will be further consolidated and the non-confidence and disbelief that exist among the permanent residents irrespective of their ethnicity will get enhanced further against the government including the ruling classes.
In this backdrop, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti calls upon the government to pass the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Amendment) Act 2013 Bill in theon-going session of the Parliament in line with the recommendations of PCJSS and CHTRC in the interest of proper solution to the land disputes in CHT without delay any further.