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CHT Land Commission to be active before CG term ends: aide

Biplob Rahman
bdnews24.com Senior Correspondent

Dhaka, Apr 22 (bdnews24.com)—The caretaker government has taken it upon itself to reactivate the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Commission, after a long seven-year lull, Raja Devasish Roy told bdnews24.com Monday.

Devasish, the chief adviser’s special assistant in charge of CHT affairs, said: “The caretaker government has decided to take urgent steps to render the commission effective and functional before it transfers power to an elected government.”

The Land Commission headquartered at Khagrachhari—with two other district offices at Rangamati and Bandarban—will play a crucial role in resolving the land disputes in the hill tract region, the special aide said.

On activating the commission as early as possible, Devasish said the government will review the relevant legislation through consultations with the CHT Regional Council.

“It will make any required amendments to the legislation, appoint a commission chairman, and allocate manpower and funds, as necessary.”

“The new commission will have a full-time chairman and two members. It will undertake trial of land dispute cases in the hills on a daily basis to dispense justice.”

As per the CHT Peace Accord signed on Dec 2, 1997, the government subsequently constituted a CHT Land Commission in 2001, but it has remained dormant since its inception due to paucity of manpower, funds and infrastructure.

Devasish said detailed discussion will be held with the concerned ministry and division to resolve debates and disputes over such land-related issues as the leasing of hill lands and resettlement of Bengalis in case their land allotments are annulled.

No mouza based surveys will be required to resolve land disputes, the special aide said. “Fresh land surveys will be undertaken using modern techniques once the bulk of the disputes have been sorted out.”

The government is contemplating headquartering the commission at Khagrachhari as land disputes have assumed an exacerbated dimension and volume in this area. “Because of the greater number of settlers, both local Bengalis and Indians from the north-east,” Devasish pointed out.

“Rangamati and Bandarban, however, will have district offices of the commission, housing their own investigation officers to probe land disputes.”

Stressing that the commission will ensure and establish the land rights of both Bengalis and the indigenous communities of the hills, Devasish said: “The commission will at long last uphold the hill people’s traditions, rites and heritage regarding the land.”

bdnews24.com/br/wz/rah/1147 hours

Biplob Rahman
Sr. Correspondent
Dhaka, Bangladesh.
PH:   +88 02 911 6877
+88 0171 338 9916

Fax:  +88 02 9119 668

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