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CHT people to enjoy land ownership: PM

21 January 2018, 4:59:00

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday assured the inhabitants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) that they will be able to enjoy the ownership of land there, as people in other regions of the country do.

“The land ownership won’t be determined by British-era laws,” she said.  

The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the 4000th Para Kendra (Village Centre) in at Mitingachhari in Kaptai upazila of Rangamati district through a videoconference.

CHT Affairs Ministry and Unicef jointly organised the programme at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.

Sheikh Hasina said the government wants to develop the whole country in a balanced way as the government gives importance to the upliftment of people’s socioeconomic status.

“This is not possible to develop the country keeping one region neglected, we’re giving a special attention to the development of the neglected areas of the country… the overall development of the CHT area is our responsibility,” she said.

Recalling the signing of the CHT Peace Treaty during her 1996-2001 term, the Prime Minister said a major part of that agreement has already been implemented and the rest of it will surely be implemented.

Regarding land disputes, she said her government has formed the Land Commission and if the Commission can sit regularly the problem will be solved.

Hasina laid emphasis on adopting modern methods in cultivation. “We want to establish food-processing industries here. This will create jobs and bring foreign currencies through export.”Reported: unb.

She asked the people of the CHT region to maintain peace in the region as this is a perquisite to development.

Chaired by State Minister for CHT Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, the inaugural ceremony was addressed, among others, by PM’s International Affairs Adviser Dr. Gowher Rizvi, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on CHT Affairs Ministry RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury and Unicef Representative in Bangladesh Edouard Beigbeder.

CHT Affairs secretary Naba Bikram Kishore Tripura delivered the welcome speech.

The Prime Minister also launched a book titled ‘Chittagong Hill Tracts: Journey towards the Peace and Prosperity’ from the programme.

Hasina said the CHT region had been deprived of development for long 20 years due to armed conflicts since 1976 following the wrong policy of military dictators.

After coming to power in 1996, she said, the government had declared the CHT problems as political ones and paid attention to its solution through discussions. 

In continuation of discussion, she mentioned that historic peace accord was signed on December 2, 1997 between the Government and Parbattya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) that ended two decades of bloody conflicts in the CHT.

The Prime Minister said historic peace accord was signed without the involvement of any third party, and armed members of the PCJSS came to a normal life by surrendering their arms that was a rare event in the world history.

Stating that the development activities gained a momentum in the region after signing the peace treaty, she mentioned that the Ministry of CHT Affairs has been established.

The existing law of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council has been amended, while three Hill District Councils have been further strengthened and some 30 departments brought under the Hill District Councils. 

The Prime Minister said there was no separate budget for the three hill districts before the peace accord had been signed, but the Awami league government allocated Tk 10,000 crore for the fiscal year 2017-18.  

Besides, different ministries are also implementing the projects worth about Tk 9000 crore in the CHT, she said.

To make the CHT people educated, she mentioned that some 315 primary schools have been established in remote hill areas, and textbooks for ethnic communities have been published in their own languages of Chakma, Marma, Tripura and other ethnic communities.

Besides, a Science and Technology University and a Medical College have been established in Rangamati, she said adding that mobile networks have also been introduced in the three hill districts.

Rangamati District Awami League President Dipankar Talukder, MP Rangamati District Council Chairman Briswaketu Chakma, Firoza Begum Chinu MP as well as local public representatives, government officials and leaders of the three Circles of the CHT region were present at Rangamati end.

A video documentary highlighting the achievements of the government in three CHT districts through Integrated Community Development project was also screened on the occasion.

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