Bangladesh: CHT crisis could be resolved properly through proper and full implementation of CHT Accord, says Santu Larma at CHT Complex inauguration ceremony

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    The CHT crisis could be resolved properly through proper and full implementation of CHT Accord including devolution of all departments and institutions to the HDCs by executive order, construction of CHT Regional Council Complex, amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act, amendment to all the laws relevant to CHT as per CHT Accord, said Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Santu Larma, Chairman of CHT Regional Council and also President of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS).

    Mr. Larma put this opinion during deliberation of his speech at the CHT Complex inauguration ceremony. He delivered his speech during the inauguration as special guest.

    The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of ‘Parbatya Chattagram Complex’ (Chittagong Hill Tracts Complex), at Bailey Road in Dhaka on 8 May 2016 aimed at promoting the national cultural diversity and social customs and individual characteristics of the hill people. The complex will have a six-storey building with a multi-purpose hall, dormitory, administrative building, museum, library and residences for the CHT Affairs Minister and Chairman of CHT Regional Council, three Hill District Councils and three Circle Chiefs. It will be built on a 1.94-acre land at a cost of BDT 10.6 million and is expected to be opened by June, 2018.

    Mr. Larma said that “the ceremony of unveiling Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Complex Foundation Stone is being observed under management of Ministry of CHT Affairs, today. Honorable Prime Minister has just unveiled the Foundation Stone a little while ago. Relevant to the occasion, I would like to mention here that the civic society of CHT including the CHTRC had, for a long time, urged the government to build this CHT complex.”

    He mentioned that “the four-party coalition government though had an initiative to head for building the CHT Complex but ultimately the initiative was put to halt due to some unknown reason. However, as the present government responded to the appeal, the foundation stone of the CHT Complex has come to get unveiled today. On this occasion, I, on behalf of the CHT people and CHT Regional Council, would like to congratulate Hon’ble Prime Minister and alongside, I would also thank heartily to all the concerned involved in this mission.”

    He added that it is beyond doubt that the day is auspicious and so is the moment to the hill people and the great occasion is also being held in a joyful atmosphere. At this, the hill people would certainly become very happy and this would evoke fresh hopes and inspirations in their mind. But even being so, many may get encountered by a question in the mind that to what extent do the function and environment correspond the situation prevalent in CHT, as a whole? The reason is that the on-going situation in the CHT region is, by no count, in happiness and of hope oriented, he opined.

    He also said that “today’s occasion accommodates a little space to speak more. Yet I would like to say that the CHT Accord was signed on 2nd December 1997 aiming at bringing proper resolution to the CHT crisis. But it is due to non-implementation of the Accord even after 18 years as it could have been implemented properly, the overall situation of CHT has become unstable, aptly anxious and despairing as a result of which the gravity of distrust and cynicism is getting enhanced gradually; despair and hopelessness have mounted the hill people in mind for which, today they are totally embarrassed in thoughts of lacking security and uncertainty ahead. This issue demands to be considered at the dept for the sake of national interest.”

    Finally Mr. Larma opined that he was in firm belief that, as it had become possible to construct CHT Complex under the sagacious leadership of the honorable Prime Minister so the CHT crisis could be resolved properly through proper and full implementation of CHT Accord including devolution of all departments and institutions to the HDCs by executive order, construction of CHT Regional Council Complex, amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act, amendment to all the laws relevant to CHT as per CHT Accord.

    In her speech as Chief Guest, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said most of the works under the guidelines of the CHT Accord had been completed. The government was making progress in the implementation of the Accord. The rest of the work would be done gradually. She said her government constituted and reconstituted the Land Commission for resolution of land disputes in the CHT areas time and again, but its work could not progress satisfactorily because of some mistrust and confusions. The government would amend the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act, 2001 to gear up the activities of the Land Commission. To find out a solution, both sides need to sit across the table, she added. The government was ready to do everything what was possible under the constitutional framework after upholding country’s independence and sovereignty.

    Prime Minister said that most of subjects were transferred to the Hill District Councils and rest of the subjects would be transferred to them soon. Only four brigades would be there in the CHT, Hasina said, adding “most of the army camps in the CHT have already been closed and rest of the camps would be withdrawn.” All army camps except four brigades would be withdrawn from the hills, Prime Minister said.

    The inauguration ceremony was presided over by State Minister for CHT Affairs Ministry Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing while welcome speech was delivered by Secretary of CHT Affairs Ministry Naba Bikram Kishore Tripura. Besides, Deputy Leader of Jatiya Sangsad and Convener of CHT Accord Implementation Committee Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain, and Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of CHT Affairs R A M Ubaidul Muktadir Chowdhury were present as special guest. The inauguration was followed by a colourful cultural programme performed by the artistes of the hill districts.