Army initiative for a dam across Sijokchara in Baghaichari, fearing for huge demage

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Hill Voice, 01 February 2020, Sajek, Baghaichari:  It has been learnt that the army had an initiative for construction of a dam across the Sijokchara adjacent to Bridgepara of Sajek Union under Baghaichari Upazila of Rangamati hill district. It is learnt that army inspected the site for many times during the last 2-3 months and the measurement had already been taken by the engineers. Besides, it is also learnt that the proposed dam site was visited by Minister for CHT Affairs Bir Bahadur, Secretary of Ministry of CHT Affairs, GOC of Chittagong Army Division, and Brigade Commanders of Rangamati and Khagrachari Brigades. But consent of the local Jumma people was not sought and even the people were not informed of.

With the issue of probable construction of dam, there has given rise multi-faceted tension and fear of damage among the local people. As per estimation of the residents concerned, 250 acres of arable lands belonging to 105 Jumma families will be affected if the dam is constructed. A huge amount of lands will be inundated. From a source concerned, it has been learnt that basically, the army has undertaken the initiative to substantiate the beauty and enhance the facilities of tourism in Sajek. The army is in concept that the dam water will get near to the tourism establishments and that it will be easier to supply water to the resorts.

It is worth mentioning that hundreds of acres of lands are being illegally occupied and taken in acquisition in the name of establishing Tourism Centers in the three hill districts by army and other government authorities. The worth of special mentioning tourism center established by the army are: establishment of luxurious resort at Ruilui village of Sajek under Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati district which lead to 5 families evicted and 65 Jumma families under threat of eviction; Anindya Tourism Center established in Ruma upazila, having the Bawm inhabitants evicted from their ancestral homesteads; various Tourism Centers established or under procession to establish at Dola Mro Para (Jibon Nagar), Kapru Para (Nilgiri), Chimbuk Sholo Mile, Wai Junction (Baro Mile) and in the Keokradong hill occupying 600 acres of lands in Bandarban district.

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