Source: Kapaeeng Foundation
A visiting Japanese parliamentarian, Naoto Sakaguchi, on Monday urged the government to declare a roadmap for implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts peace accord singed in 1997.
‘The government should also earmark funds through a block allotment to implement the treaty,’ the member of the Japanese House of Representatives told reporters after a three-day tour of the Hill Tracts.
He suggested that the government should prioritise land dispute issue to implement the accord, which was signed after more than two decades of armed insurgency in the hilly region.
Ain O Salish Kendra executive director Sultana Kamal, deputy head of Information and Cultural Division of Japanese Embassy Ken Komine and CHT Commission coordinator Hana Shams Ahmed, among others, were present at the briefing held at the Kendra office at Lalmatia in the city.
Sakaguchi, a leader of Democratic Party of Japan, also said that his government would provide assistance in implementing the CHT accord if the Bangladesh government needs help from them.
Emphasising on the sustainable tourism, he said Japanese government is ready to support sustainable tourism as it would generate employment in the country.
However, sustainable tourism is an industry committed to leave a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income and employment for the local people.
The aim of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development is a positive experience for local people, tourism companies, and tourists themselves. But sustainable tourism is not the same as ‘eco-tourism’.
Naoto Sakaguchi, also a member of foreign affairs committee of the Japanese House, also emphasized the need for industrialization of the CHT, saying, ‘Industrialization should be given priority along with agriculture to boost the economic condition of the CHT.’
The area of Chittagong Hill Tracts, comprising the three hilly districts of Rrangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban, is about 13,184 sq kms, which is approximately one-tenth of the total area of Bangladesh.
The CHT is a distinct region in terms of its ethnic, cultural and environmental diversity compared to the rest of Bangladesh.