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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tourism Development in violation of CHT Accord: PCJSS

Source: PCJSS

On 23 December 2009 in a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on planning ministry undertook decision to promote tourism industry in CHT. The meeting was held at CHT Development Board conference in Rangamati with Committee Chairman Col (retd) Oli Ahmed in chair. The meeting was attended by members of the parliamentary standing committee, namely, planning minister Air Vice Martial (rtd) A K Khandakar, Md. Azizul Haque Chowdhury MP, Hamida Banu MP, Nawab Ali Abbas Khan and Shamsul Islam. Besides, secretary of planning ministry Habibullah Majumdar, secretary of CHT affairs ministry Masud Ahma, chairman of Tourism Corporation Hemayet Uddin Abdul Malek, deputy director of UNDP-CHTDF Prasenjit Chakma and Orshowja Chakma.

As part of the tourism development in CHT, the parliamentary standing committee on planning ministry decided to build road along the bank of Kaptai Lake. The road will be connected with Bandarban, Khagrachari and Chittagong districts. Decision was also taken to set up cable car, zoo and recreation centre for children along the road side.

It is mentionable that as per CHT Accord, the subject of ‘local tourism’ was vested with the three Hill District Councils (HDCs). As apex body of special administrative arrangement for CHT region, the CHT Regional Council (CHTRC) has the right to coordinate and supervise the subjects.

However, the subject of local tourism is yet to be transferred to HDCs. The parliamentary standing committee did not discuss to transfer subject to the HDCs. Moreover, the parliamentary standing committee undertook this decision without having consultation with HDCs and CHTRC. Even, representatives of these institutions were not invited in the meeting. Hence the decision of development of tourism in CHT is direct violation of CHT Accord. Though present government has been reiterating its commitment to implement CHT Accord fully, however, no initiative for implementation of main issues of the CHT Accord except reconstitution of few committees has been undertaken during the tenure of last one year.

It is also learnt that upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Bandarban sadar upazila (sub-district) Mr. Anupam Barua set up tourist centre at Kana Para area under Bandarban upazila by occupying land of indigenous people. A connecting road is also being constructed by the food for work project.

The owners of this land, namely, Mr. Mong Nue Prue Marma, Mr. Lal Lung Ruyal Bawm and Mr. Lal Pian Than Bawm contacted with UNO and objected against the construction of tourist centre on their land. However, UNO rejected their claims and filed case against them with Bandanban police station.

The owners of land submitted memorandum to state minister of CHT affairs ministry Mr. Dipankar Talukdar seeking justice and security. But no action has been taken against it so far.

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