6th meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee held after one year

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Hill Voice, 6 December 2022, Special Correspondent:

The 6th meeting of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord Implementation and Monitoring Committee was held last Saturday (December 3) at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban. The resolution of the 5th meeting of the committee was approved in the said meeting. However, the meeting did not approve the setting up of the APBN camp in place of the withdrawn army camp.

The meeting held under the chairmanship of Abul Hasnat Abdullah, the convener of the CHT Accord Implementation and Monitoring Committee, was attended by two other members of the committee, Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, President of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and Kujendra Lal Tripura, Chairman of the Task Force on Rehabilitation of India-Returnee Tribal Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons.

Besides, Central Member of PCJSS and member of CHT Regional Council Goutam Kumar Chakma, CHT Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing MP, Secretary of CHT Ministry Mosammat Hamida Begum, Private Secretary to the Convener of CHT Accord Implementation Committee Khairul Bashar and other officials were present. The 6th meeting of the Committee was held one year after the 5th meeting of the Accord Implementation and Monitoring Committee on December 7, 2021.

The topic discussed in the 6th meeting was the appraisal of the overall situation in the CHT and the approval of the minutes of the 5th meeting. Although the agenda of the meeting was set to review the overall situation of the CHT, no working paper was presented by the CHT Affairs Ministry. As a result, no discussion was held on that issue.

A discussion was held in the meeting on approving the resolution of the 5th meeting of the Committee. In the 5th meeting, it was decided to take necessary initiatives of the Ministry of CHT Affairs for the formulation/finalization of the Rules of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission soon. But the Ministry of CHT Affairs has not taken any initiative in this regard and the Ministry of Lands has not taken any effective action in the last one year. Therefore, the Ministry of CHT Affairs has been urged again to take necessary action in this regard.

It was also decided in the 5th meeting to immediately transfer the non-transferred subjects to the three Hill District Councils through executive order. That decision was also not implemented. In that regard, the CHT Ministry has been urged again to execute the decision.

The decision was taken in the 5th meeting to organize a coordination meeting by the CHT affairs ministry with the CHT Ministry, the CHT Regional Council and the three Hill District Councils. That decision was also not implemented. The Secretary of the CHT Affairs Ministry could not provide a proper explanation as to why no initiative was taken regarding the said decision. Later the Minister of the CHT Ministry Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing also tried to give an explanation on this matter.

It was decided in the 5th meeting to submit a report by the Deputy Commissioner of Bandarban Hill District with a list of land leases and rubber plantations to the CHT Accord Implementation and Monitoring Committee. But no report has been submitted by the Deputy Commissioner. The CHT Ministry has been urged to take necessary effective initiatives in this regard as well for execution.

Discussion was also held regarding the formulation of Regulations by the CHT Regional Council following the special law of CHT. A decision was also taken in the 5th meeting of the Committee to approve the organogram of 27 officers and employees of the Accord Implementation and Monitoring Committee and to appoint manpower accordingly. But no effective initiative has been taken by the CHT Ministry in this regard.

Another decision was taken in the 5th meeting to withdraw all the false and fabricated cases lodged against the members of PCJSS. But no appropriate action has been taken by the CHT Ministry in this regard. The Secretary of the CHT Ministry explained that a letter has been sent to the Regional Council to send the list of cases. In reply, on behalf of Regional Council, the Chairman of it said that it is not a matter of the Regional Council but PCJSS. Therefore, it should be written to the PCJSS, instead of the Regional Council. But after that no action was taken by the CHT Ministry. In order to take effective action in this regard, the CHT Ministry was again asked to prepare a list of cases.

A decision was recorded in the minutes of the 5th meeting to set up an APBN camp in place of the withdrawn army camp.  Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, President of PCJSS, opposed it.  It should be noted that the matter was discussed in the 5th meeting, but no decision was taken.  Apart from this, the initiative to set up APBN camp in the site of the withdrawn army camp is also contradictory to the CHT Accord.

Finally, the resolution of the 5th meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation and Monitoring Committee was finalized by approving all the above-mentioned decisions of the 5th meeting except the issue of setting up the APBN camp in place of the withdrawn army camp.  The setup of APBN camp in place of the withdrawn army camp recorded in the minutes of the 5th meeting was not approved. An opinion was expressed that this matter can be discussed with the Ministry of Home Affairs later.

Besides, a decision was taken in the 6th meeting to send the minutes of the law and order meeting related to CHT to the Accord Implementation and Monitoring Committee and the Regional Council. The Ministry of CHT Affairs has been given the responsibility to take effective steps in this regard.

There was another discussion on the instructions sent by the Ministry of CHT Affairs to include the Deputy Commissioners in the Teacher Appointment Committee in the three Hill District Councils. Such instructions are in conflict with the Hill District Council Act. Therefore, the attention of the Ministry of CHT Affairs was drawn not to issue such illegal instructions. CHT Minister Bir Bahadur pledged that such instructions will not be given again.

It is noteworthy that according to the CHT Accord, the CHT Accord Implementation and Monitoring Committee is being reconstituted during the tenure of the present government. Moreover, it has no office, manpower and fund. As a result, although this committee has been formed, the government has kept this committee nominally active in various ways, say many people concerned. It is very easy to guess how sincere the government is in implementing the CHT Accord, they expressed anger.