Chittagong Hill Tracts: UNDP Scheme for Development of CHT
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has prepared a six million dollar project for development of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and employment creation by utilising local resources.
The planned 'Economic Opportunities Project (EOP)' will give emphasis on confidence building among the people and development of agriculture, horticulture, handloom, small industries, tourism and forest resources.
The project followed a 15-day visit to the region by a joint team comprising officials of Bangladesh and UNDP in November last year.
The team, after its visit, submitted reports to the government and the UNDP headquarters, recommending the project and areas and sectors to be covered under it, sources in UNDP and Bangladesh officials said.
"Work on the EOP project will start when funds will be available. UNDP is trying to mobilise funds. So far I knew, its top officials are lobbying for this ", said one source.
The mission that visited the area included UNDP Director for Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF) Michael Hyen; its Field Manager Heilly Usikila; its experts on youth development, information technology, agriculture, horticulture and small industries, and high officials of Bangladesh government.
During its assessment tour, the team held talks with local officials, businessmen, prospective investors, public representatives and also grassroots level people.
The team in its report said the CHT region has great prospects for development through utilisation of its huge natural resources and manpower.
The projects will be implemented in two phases. Plans involving 1.8 million dollars will be implemented under a two-year pilot project and the rest 4.2 million dollars in next three years, the sources said.
The EOP projects will be implemented jointly by UNDP, Bangladesh government and local bodies under the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF).
The report said the entire CHT region has good prospects for tea plantation, development of agriculture, horticulture, handloom, small industries and tourism.
The report made a special recommendation for utilisation of human resources
in the region through training and self-employment.
"The prospects can bring good fortune for this region and the nation at large ", said the report.
The report also said that the CHT region is a good place for investment as crimes are lesser there compared to other areas of Bangladesh.
The mission, however, detected some constraints like lack of good telecommunication facility and education among people.
"Merely, potentialities in honey production, wood-based furniture production and agricultural produces can help this region towards economic growth", the report said.
It also emphasised good road communication so that people of remote areas can get access to markets easily.