Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday sought cooperation from the people of Chattogram Hill Tracts in solving their land problems.
“Cooperate with the Land (Dispute Resolution) Commission (of the CHT) so that it can solve the land problems soon,” she said after inaugurating the newly constructed Sheikh Hasina Chattogram Hill Tracts Complex at Bailey Road in the capital.
The Prime Minister said when lands are acquired to implement any development scheme in the CHT areas people do not get compensation due to problems over land ownership there.
She said if the CHT people get the ownership of own lands against their own names according to the law which is effective for (other parts of) the country, they can get compensation in case of land acquisition.
Sheikh Hasina suggested not following a separate land law which had been enacted during the British colonial period for the CHT area. The Land Commission faces repeated obstacles whenever it goes to work in this regard, she added.
Noting that now the world is marching forward in a much faster way, she said, “So, I think everyone should live with their own lands and own rights. We want this system to be improved.”
The Prime Minister said the government has already implemented most clauses of the CHT Peace Accord signed in 1997 and the execution of some others is underway. “Besides, the government is implementing huge schemes for the overall development of the CHT region.”
She said the government developed the CHT region much making special allocation as the region had completely been neglected for 20 years after 1975.
In this regard, she suggested that the CHT Regional Council propose projects for the overall development of the region so that its people can be more self-reliant economically. “If the CHT Regional Council proposes any project for the development of their respective region, we’ll be able to implement it making special allocation,” Hasina said.
About government jobs for members of small ethnic groups, the Prime Minister said her government is taking steps so that candidates from minority groups living in both hills and plain land get priority in the recruitment process. “Though we’ve cancelled the quota system, I’ve directed the Public Service Commission so that candidates from the CHT region or small ethnic groups always get priority. We’re taking steps and will do, we can give you this word,” she said.
Noting that there will be no development if peace is not maintained, the Prime Minister said, “No more conflict. We signed the peace accord. So, we want peace to prevail in the hills and it will mark progress through this peace.”
Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Convener of CHT Peace Accord Implementation Committee Abul Hasnat Abdullah, Chairman of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, also known as Santu Larma, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Chattogram Hill Tracts Affairs Ministry RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury also spoke at the event chaired by State Minister of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing.
CHT Affairs Secretary Md Nurul Amin at his welcome speech said the Sheikh Hasina Chattogram Hill Tracts Complex was constructed on two acres of land spending Tk 194 crore.
Alongside a six-storey administrative building and a six-storey dormitory, there are several other structures under the complex.
An audio-visual documentary was screened focusing the development of the CHT area and lifestyle of its people.