Donald Lu: Issues of participatory polls, CHT discussed over lunch at FSA
Participatory election, overall election process and Chittagong Hill Tracts issues were briefly discussed at a meeting over lunch with US Assistant Secretary of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu held at Foreign Service Academy on Sunday. Awami League International Affairs Secretary Dr. Shammi Ahmed, Prof. Imtiaz Ahmed, Dr. Lailufar Yasmin, Dr. Delwar Hossain and Chief Executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) Syeda Rizwana Hasan, among others, were present. “They (US side) said, we don’t speak on behalf of any political party; we talk about certain processes and the rights of the people,” said Syeda Rizwana while talking to the reporters after the meeting. She said only participation of the BNP and other parties and the election process were discussed and there was no further discussion on any other aspects of the election scenario in Bangladesh. Also Read: Rab made ‘tremendous progress’ in ‘respecting rights’ while performing duties: Donald Lu observes She mentioned that no BNP leader was present at the meeting. According to a meeting source, two of the participants expressed optimism about the BNP’s participation in the next election. “There was no conclusive discussion about human rights issues, but the Chittagong Hill Tracts issue was discussed during the meeting,” said Syeda Rizwana in response to another question. The US senior official is visiting Bangladesh to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral relationships, expand economic engagement, and go over the labor and human rights situation. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen hosted the lunch in honour of Donald Lu and his delegation members.
25 years of CHT Peace Accord: PCJSS wants govt to implement it fully
Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti (PCJSS) Vice President and former lawmaker Ushatan Talukder said on Friday that there is no security of life of the people living in the hill tracts when he also demanded the full execution of the treaty. He came up with the remarks while addressing as chief guest at a rally organised to mark the 25 years of ‘Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord’ at Rangamati Gymnasium Ground. PCJSS organised the rally. Urging all the ethnic minority groups to be united to realise their rights, he said the hill tracts accord is not an economic issue, rather it is a political issue, which will have to be faced politically in a peaceful manner. “The government is heading towards a wrong path with the hilly regions, the government created KNF to stand against the PCJSS”, he said. Addressing the emergence of the militants in the hilly disrtricts, he alleged that the KNF is giving training to the militants who ultimately will hatch conspiracy against the country. Read: 25th anniversary of CHT Peace Accord : Militant activities new challenge after emergence of Kuki-Chin National Front The full implementation of the peace accord has been impeded due to bureaucratic complexities and other tactics despite passing of 25 years of the deal, he alleged. The government lacks sincerity in implementing the deal inked with PCJSS, and for that the land commission is yet to start their works thoroughly, he said. He urged the government to be more sincere to implement the longstanding accord for the betterment of the people in the region. With PCJSS Rangamati President Gongha Manik Chakma in the chair, Jubo Union Central President Khan Masuduzzaman, Chattogram Regional President of Bangladesh Adibasi Forum Prokriti Ranjan Chakma also spoke. Marking 25 years of the treaty, a colourful procession was brought out from Rangamati College premises. Brigadier General Imtiaz Uddin inaugurated the rally by releasing balloons and freeing pigeons at the college. Alongside the Rangamati, the anniversary was also observed in Khargrachhari. Read: 25th anniversary of CHT Peace Treaty on Friday Different programmes were arranged in the three hilly districts on Friday marking the anniversary. A colourful rally, arranged by Khagrachhari Hill District Parishad, was brought out from the Zila Parishad premises following a discussion meeting on CHT treaty, peace and development. On December 2, 1997, the PCJSS signed the peace deal with the then Awami League government led by Sheikh Hasina. Then Jatiya Sangsad Chief Whip Abul Hasnat Abdullah signed the agreement on behalf of the government while Jyotirindriyo Bodhipriyo Larma alias Shantu Larma signed on behalf of PCJSS.
25th anniversary of CHT Peace Treaty on Friday
The 25th anniversary of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord will be observed on Friday. Different programmes have been arranged in the three hilly districts, marking the anniversary of the peace treaty. Read more: 25 Years of CHT Peace Accord: Eminent citizens say expectation remains unfulfilled President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday issued separate messages marking the completion of 25 years of the significant treaty. President Abdul Hamid in his massage said Chittagong Hill Tracts is rich with natural resources and a place of potentials. The Peace Accord is speeding up the socio-economic and cultural development of Chittagong Hill Tracts, he said. He urged all to work unitedly for the development of the hill region. In her message, the Prime Minister said the Awami League government has been working tirelessly for the overall development of the hilly region in the light of the peace treaty. Various schemes are being implemented for the development of all sectors including education, health, electricity, communication, infrastructure and mobile network in the region, she added. “We are committed to maintain peace all over the country including Chittagong Hill Tracts,” said the PM. “I hope we will be able to build a peaceful, happy Sonar Bangladesh as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through the socio-economic development of the Hill Tracts people with united efforts of all.” Read more: PM is very sincere to CHT people: Ushwe Sing She sought cooperation from all to fully implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord. On December 2, 1997, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) signed the peace deal with the then Awami League government, led by Sheikh Hasina. Then Jatiya Sangsad Chief Whip Abul Hasnat Abdullah signed the agreement on behalf of the government while Joritindra Bodhipriyo Larma (Santu Larma) on behalf of PCJSS.
25 Years of CHT Peace Accord: Eminent citizens say expectation remains unfulfilled
Prominent citizens of the country have demanded full implementation of all the commitments in line with the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord by removing all obstacles, noting that expectation still remains unfulfilled. On December 2, 1997, the government of Bangladesh and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti signed this historic agreement in an effort to find a political solution to the problems in the CHT. Forty-one eminent citizens placed an eight-point demand mentioning that the implementation of the peace accord has not advanced as anticipated. “It is a matter of great regret that in the 25 years of the agreement, no progress has been made as expected in the implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts agreement though several clauses of the agreement have been implemented,” reads a joint statement signed by Shamsul Huda, Executive Director of Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD). Read more: Celebrating the Peace Accord in Hill Tracts In particular, the eminent citizens said that it is very sad that no effective initiative has been taken to advance the process of implementing the agreement though the Awami League government that signed the agreement has been in power for the third consecutive term. “We are deeply concerned about the ineffectiveness and inaction of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Commission. Recently, their regular meetings had to be adjourned several times due to interference from vested interests. The silence of the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs or the government in this regard is very sad,” they said in the statement. Specific demands from the civil society include full implementation of all commitments proposed in the agreement, necessary budget, manpower and visible support of the highest level of government for the proper functioning of the land dispute resolution commission. Rights activist Sultana Kamal, ALRD Chairperson and Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir, eminent economist and researcher Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Research Initiative Bangladesh (RIB) Executive Director Dr Meghna Guhathakurta, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad Rana Dasgupta, Executive Director of TIB Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Dr. Abul Barkat, Prof Mesbah Kamal and Shaheen Anam are among the 41 signatories of the statement. Read more: CHT Peace Treaty: A chase of an illusion! Recently, a high-level delegation of the United Nations in Bangladesh and key development partners visited the Chittagong Hill Tracts to see first-hand the development initiatives in the area. The week-long visit from November 13 to November 17 covered the hill districts of Khagrachhari and Rangamati. The delegation included UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis, EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley, UK High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson and Norway Ambassador Espen Rikter-Svendsen. UNDP Resident Representative Stefan Liller, UNFPA Country Representative Kristine Blokhus, FAO Country Representative Robert Simpson and UNICEF Country Representative Sheldon Yett were also in the delegation. Read More: 25th anniversary of CHT Peace Treaty on Friday UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis said development work in the Chittagong Hill Tracts has been hugely successful, but lack of access and remoteness of many communities remains an ongoing challenge. "The indigenous communities in the CHT have led impressive efforts to preserve and rehabilitate forests and their natural habitat. Climate change has made their work even more vital,” Lewis said on Thursday. Lewis also said that the visit provided her with a scope to familiarise herself with the region, listen to the concerns of women and adolescents and visit a range of different programmes. “UN and Partners’ support in CHT must be inclusive and in line with Agenda 2030’s promise of leaving no one behind to achieve a concerted, effective and sustainable development of the Chittagong Hill Tracts,” she added. Read More: Issues in implementing CHT Peace Accord should be identified, resolved: Bir Bahadur
Chittagong Hill Tracts: 'The orchard of Bangladesh'
Agriculture Secretary Md Sayedul Islam on Friday stressed the need to highlight the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) as the orchard of Bangladesh. “Cold storages need to be built to preserve the fruits grown in the CHT. Besides, the number of collection centres needs to be increased to collect and store fruits coming from the remote parts of the region,” Sayedul said. He made the remarks during a views-exchange meeting with agricultural scientists from Chattogram and the three hill districts that comprise the CHT region, at the conference room of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Bandarban. Speaking as the chief guest, Sayedul pointed out various measures that need to be taken in order to boost fruit production in the CHT. “The agricultural loan at 4 percent interest rate announced by the government needs to be ensured. State-of-the-art technologies must be used to enhance the irrigation system. Most importantly, participation of educated people is necessary for a technology and knowledge-based agricultural system,” Sayedul said. Read: Govt will do everything to stop bloodshed in CHT: Home Minister The secretary claimed that no other country in the world provides as much subsidy as Bangladesh in the agricultural sector. “The government provides subsidies worth Tk 30,000 crore every year to the agricultural sector, an amount equal to the total cost of the Padma Bridge. The government is doing it for the sake of making the nation food-sufficient,” Sayedul added. Sayedul also said that focus should be given on fruit production rather than rice production in the CHT. “Rice is produced in most parts of the country, so we need to use CHT to grow various fruits that we have to import from other countries. The fruits grown in the CHT have the potential for export. That’s why our concern has to be ramping up fruit production in this area,” Sayedul said.
Female teacher’s throat-slit body recovered in Rangamati
Police recovered the throat-slit body of an indigenous female school teacher from her own house in Longdu upazila in Rangamati on Sunday. The deceased was identified as Pensy Chakma, 35, teacher of a school run by UNICEF and daughter of Debdash Chakma, said Ariful Amin, Officer-in-Charge of Longdu police station The body was recovered from her home at Ultachari hilly area at Atarakchara ward-8 in the upazila Babu Ajay Mitra Chakma, chairman of Atarakchara Union Parishad, said Pensy used to work as a local community worker for UNICEF and used to live alone. Read: Trader stabbed to death in Lalmonirhat “On Sunday morning some children went to get tuition in her house they found the body and locals later called police,” said the UP chairman. “The matter is under investigation and the culprits will be identified soon,” said OC Ariful Amin.
A fair in Rangamati you can't miss before Boisabi!
A five-day fair began in Rangamati on Monday ahead of the traditional New Year festival of different ethnic communities living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, known as ‘Boisabi’. The word 'Boisabi' is a combination of the Bengali acronyms for various indigenous festivals like Boishuk of the Tripura community, Sangrai of the Marma community and Biju of the Chakma community. The festival, jointly arranged by the Rangamati district administration and Khudro Nrigosthi Sangskritik Institute in Khagrachari, was inaugurated by Dipankar Talukdar, Member of Parliament from Rangamati constituency and president of the parliamentary standing committee on ministry of food on the Institute premises
JS body for filling 1585 vacant posts in CHT primary schools
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Affairs Ministry on Tuesday recommended recruiting teachers in 1,585 vacant posts in the primary schools in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) areas. It also suggested nationalising 142 primary schools under special consideration in the CHT areas under a project that was taken to establish 1000 primary schools in the villages where there is no school. The parliamentary standing committee came up with the recommendations at its 9th meeting held in the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) Bhaban with its chairman Alhaj Md Dabirul Islam in the chair. The parliamentary watchdog also asked the government to shift the responsibility of recruiting Doptori (employee) of primary schools to District Councils from the District Administrators (Deputy Commissioners) as per the rules and policy formulated in line with the CHT Peace Accord. Read: Cabinet body okays proposal for setting up 42,500 solar systems in 3 hill districts In the meeting, it was said that a total of 1048 head teachers and 6789 assistant teachers are teaching in the primary schools in three CHT districts. Committee members CHT Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing (Bandarban), Dipankar Talukdar (Rangamati), A.B.M. Fazle Karim Chowdhury (Chattogram-6), Kujendra Lal Tripura, Mir Mushtaque Ahmed Robi (Satkhira-2) and Basanti Chakma (Women Seat-9) attended the meeting. The CHT Affairs Secretary and other officials from the ministry and the parliament secretariat were present at the meeting, said a Jatiya Sangsad handout.
How resorts can boost local economy in hill districts
The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord, which ended the decades-long conflict between the Bangladeshi armed forces and Shanti Bahini, was signed in December 1997. One of the major conditions of the historic peace deal inked between the Bangladeshi government and Jana Sanghati Samiti was to develop the three hill districts -- Khagrachhari, Bandarban and Rangamati -- as tourism hubs. More than 23 years on, this condition still remains unfulfilled -- as vested interests are apparently obstructing its implementation. Also read: Covid-19 casts gloom on tourism in Rangamati, Bandarban In fact, as part of the move to develop the region, construction work on a proposed five-star resort, 'Marriott Hotel and Amusement Park', in Chandra Pahar — formerly the Naitong hung (hill) — in Bandarban’s Chimbuk area has started. But UNB has learnt that some groups are trying to derail the project by spreading rumours on social media. In 2015, the Bandarban Hill District Council (BHDC) gave on lease some 20 acres of land in Chandra Pahar for the resort project, and a temporary check post was also set up that year only to ensure security in the area. Read Best Resorts near Dhaka for Day out or Weekend Away While the Chandra Pahar resort project has been conceptualised keeping in mind the environmental factors, few local groups -- JSS(M) and PCP (Pahari Chhatra Parishad) -- claim that around 800-1,000 acres of land will eventually be grabbed for its construction. And this could, in turn, displace over 10,000 residents of nearby villages. From taking to social media to holding periodic protest rallies, these groups have been misleading local residents since construction of the five-star facility began in June 2020, after approval of the project's layout by the government. Read Best Khagrachhari Tourist Spots to Explore in Your Vacation However, a reality check by UNB has revealed that the area closest to the project site is Dholapara, some 1.3 km (aerial distance) away. Project manager Sirajul Islam said that the distance from the resort site to Kalaipara and Erapara of Mro community is 5km, and that of Kaprupara and Dolapara is 3.5km and 2.5km, respectively. "So there will be no acquisition of land belonging to the local ethnic groups or any loss to their villages," he said. Also read: Reopening plan raises hope for Cox's Bazar tourism The vested groups have also spread rumours that local farmers will lose jhum cultivable land due to the project. "This is absolutely not correct. They can very well continue with jhum (or shifting) cultivation," Sirajul said. Besides, BHDC has allotted nearly three acres of land to each Mro family for cultivating mixed fruits.