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Land acquisition in Babuchara for BDR Battalion Headquarter

Land acquisition in Babuchara for BDR Battalion Headquarter

18 May 05

The government is going to acquire 45 acres of land in Babuchara under

Dighinala Thana in Khagrachari district for the purpose of constructing a

battalion headquarters office of the Bangladesh Rifles, the border security

force of the country.

The move will instantly oust 74 Jumma families in three villages – Jatna

Dhan Karbari Para, Gobinda Karbari Para and Hengottya Karbari Para. An

additional one hundred families will have to ultimately vacate their lands

once the construction of the camp compound is completed.

Most of these families were victims of Kaptai Hydro Electric Project that

evicted one hundred thousand Jummas in the early sixties. Moreover, in 1986

almost all these 74 families had to flee to Indian state of Tripura where

they lived as refugees until the Chittagong Hill Tracts accord was signed

in 1997.

The Deputy Commissioner of Khagrachari already issued acquisition notices

on 31 March 2005. They have been addressed to the owners of acquisitioned

lands. Memo nos. of the notices are 14-21/05-61/LA, 62/LA, 63/LA, 64/ LA,

65/LA, 66/LA and 67/LA. It reads “whereas the under-mentioned scheduled

lands are required in the public interest for the Construction of Babuchara

Rifles (BDR) Battalion Project, it is hereby notified that the

under-mentioned lands have been acquisitioned under Chittagong Hill Tracts

Land Acquisition Regulation, 1958 with effect from 31 March 2005. As from

that date, these lands have been vested upon the government after having

been free of all encumbrances. Due compensation shall be awarded.”

The Jumma leaders think there is no need for any BDR camp in the area, as

the nearest border point is 40 miles away to the north. Moreover, there is

already an army camp adjacent to the proposed site of the BDR camp.

The local people are opposed to the setting up of the BDR headquarter in

their area. They think it is merely a ploy to drive them out of their homes

and grab their lands.

They have already submitted petitions to the Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs

ministry, the Regional Council, Khagrachari District Council and Deputy

Commissioner of Khagrachari against the proposed land acquisition. While

the petitions evoked some sympathy, they failed to persuade the government

to cancel the plan.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) has taken up the

matter and filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the

government decision.

Sources: UPDF

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