Vol. 5 Num 793 Sat. August 19, 2006  

Implement peace accord to solve land problem in CHT
Speakers tell roundtable

Implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord is a must to resolve the land problem of the indigenous people, said the speakers at a roundtable yesterday.

They said the acts which are appropriate for the plain land, cannot solve the land problem of hilly areas. It should be resolved in the light of the traditional rules and regulations.

The roundtable titled ' Land in CHT: Hill peoples' rights, peace accord, laws of the land and necessary actions' was organised jointly by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) and Global Network for the Prevention of Torture (GNPT) at

the auditorium of Young Women Christian Association in the city.

The speakers stressed the need for establishing conventional land rights of indigenous people giving back the grabbed lands to them.

They also called for making the land commission effective and cancelling the lease given to people who are not resident of CHT.

Deputy Minister for CHT Affairs Moni Swapan Dewan said it is not possible for his ministry alone to resolve the land problem which is very complex in nature.

" Concerted efforts of the forest and land ministries are essential to solve the land problem in CHT," he said, adding that implementation of the peace accord is a continuous process and everything will be resolved gradually.

" The present government has taken initiatives to strengthening the local district administration in this regard. Formulation of regulations to supervise the CHT Regional Council is to be completed soon," he said.

While presenting a keynote paper GNPT Coordinator Fazlous Sattar said the previous government formed a Land Commission without any prior consultation with the CHT Regional Council.

Even the act which was enacted later in this regard was also unilateral as well as in clear deviation from the provisions of the peace accord, he added.

Sattar stressed the need for developing effective strategy for advocacy both at national and international levels.

Khagrachhari District Headman Association President Shakti Pada Tripura said lack of government's willingness, absence of law as per peace accord, bureaucratic tangle and communal mentality in the administration are the main hindrances to effective functioning of land commission.

Chairperson of ALRD Khushi Kabir chaired the roundtable which was also addressed by Prof Dalem Chandra Barman, Dr Sadeka Halim, Editor of the New Age Nurul Kabir and ALRD Executive Director Shamsul Huda.