Opinion-sharing meeting on Settlement of Land Dispute and Land Survey in CHT held in Rangamati
On 10 October 2010 at 10.00 am a opinion-sharing meeting on Settlement of Land Dispute and Land Survey in CHT held in Rangamati chaired by the Land Minister Rezaul Karim Heera. The meeting was moderated by secretary of Land Ministry Mr. Ataur Islam while welcome address was delivered by Secretary of Ministry of CHT Affairs (MoCHTA) Mr. Masud Ahmed.
Barrister Raja Devasish Roy, Chakma Circle Chief was asked to speak first. He said that the CHT Accord narrates in the clause 2 of the Part Gha/4 that after the implementation of the Accord and rehabilitation of the refugees and internally displaced persons, the Government, in consultation with the Regional Council, is to take up the program for land survey in CHT and as per the Accord Land Commission is to settle land disputes and land survey is not the function of the Land Commission. He stressed to amend the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act and pointed out that no lands or areas as per the Accord could be left outside the jurisdiction of the Land Commission.
Participating in the discussion, representative of Bohmong Circle Chief Mr. Chawhla Prue (Jimi) supported Raja Devasish Roy and demanded amendment in the Land Commission Act to accept representative of Bohmong Circle Chief in the Commission meeting as well.
Three HDCs Chairmen namely Khangrachari HDC’s chairman Mr. Kujendra Lal Tripura, Bandarban HDC’s chairman Mr. Kyew Chahla and Rangamati HDC’s chairman Mr. Nikhil Kumar Chakma also spoke in the meeting. They raised the issue of proper execution of the procedure of having prior approval of HDCs relating to transfer of lands in HDCs as cited in the CHT Accord and inserted in the section 64 of the HDC Acts. They touched the issue of granting lease by the Standing Committee headed by Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong Division.
Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu Larma), CHTRC Chairman told that 29 months of this GoB already passed over and no progress has yet held in the implementation of the Accord. Yet the people are waiting for execution of the issues of CHT Accord. With regard to settlement of land dispute and land survey very clearly stated that without the settlement of land disputes and rehabilitation of refugees and IDPs, land survey should not be done. That was not the function of the Land Commission. Yet the Land Commission’s Chairman, without holding meeting with the members of the Land Commission took up few steps, which created confusion among the masses and the process of land dispute settlement has been jeopardized. He worked as a political element against the Accord and settlement of land dispute. Hence, CHTRC sent letters to the GoB to dismiss him. He added that there should be congenial environment relating to law and order and general administration and economic development for which demilitarization of the administration in CHT was unavoidable. He demanded transfer of the subjects- Land and Management, Forest and Environment to the HDCs.
In his speech, Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura, MP and Chairman, Task Force on Rehabilitation of Refugee Returnees and IDPs also supported to amend the Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act 2001 as per recommendation of CHTRC and to conduct land survey as per CHT Accord.
Mr. Bir Bahadur MP said that there should be practically some progress with regard to implementation of the Accord.
Mr. Dipankar Talukdar emphasised on implementation of the CHT Accord. He opined that there were some elements who all the time made attempts to create chaos and confusion in the region. He provided instance that when this meeting was scheduled to be held on today in Rangamati then the incident of killing was held in Rangamati (in the night of 8 October) and in another incident two persons were killed in Kassalong just yesterday (9 October).
Participating in the discussion, Goutam Kumar Chakma, Member and Convenor of Committee on Law, Land and Local Councils of CHT Regional Council (CHTRC) told that CHT Land Dispute Commission was to settle land disputes and then Land survey could be done as per the provision of the CHT Accord. The Land Commission is of 9-members to deal with the matters about functioning of the Commission and however, it is of 5-members Commission to settle land disputes as a Quasi-judicial body. The present Land Commission chairman did not follow the procedure so far that is why CHTRC took resolution and put recommendation to the GoB for dismissal of him. He opined that he went through the minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2010 chaired by Mr. Dipankar Talukdar, State Minister of MoCHTA on amendment of the CHT Land Settlement Dispute Act 2001 and found recorded the issues properly.
The State Minister of Land Ministry opined that there should be series of meeting on the issues of the CHT.
Mr. Rezaul Karim Heera, Land Minister and Chair of the meeting spoke that land survey would be held only after the settlement of land disputes. In this connection, he spoke that all the necessary legislation would be made and amended as per the clause 2 of the Part ka/1 of the CHT Accord. His ministry would implement all the concerned issues related to the Accord. He also opined that if necessary appointment of new chairman of the Land Commission would be considered. He said that he would inform all these issues to the Prime Minister for necessary consideration.
At the end of the meeting there held a short brief to the media persons.
The meeting was attended by, among others, Chandra Nath Basak Moitra, Joint Secretary & Director (land records, Directorate of Land Records and Survey, additional divisional commissioner (Revenue), officials from Land Ministry, MoCHTA, Law Ministry and Prime Minister’s office, Deputy Commission (DC) of Khagrachari & Bandarban and representative of DC of Rangamati, Mr. Krishna Chandra Chakma, Executive Officer in Charge of CHTRC and Mr. Bishwajit Chakma, APS to Chairman of CHTRC.