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Saturday, November 6, 2010

CHRTC demands annulling of Rangamati Science and Technology University


The Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council (CHTRC) has demanded cancellation of Rangamati Science and Technology University (RSTU) project on the ground that it would leave hundreds of indigenous families homeless, deprived of their livelihood.

Demanding immediate cancellation of the RSTU project, the CHTRC submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on October 19.

The CHTRC said in the memorandum that hundreds of indigenous families would be uprooted once again from their ancestral lands, where they had settled down after displacement following construction of Kaptai Dam in the 1960s.

An influential member of the CHRTC, preferring anonymity told The Independent that local indigenous people have been opposing setting up of the university in their area, arguing that it would evict them once again from their homestead, creating socio-political problems in the region.

In 2001,the then government passed the Rangamati Science and Technology University Act, 2001 and immediately formulated a project to set up the university at Rangamati.

The government selected a site to set up the university at Jhagrabil Mouza under Rangamati sadar Upazila, south of the Rangamati town and to the north-west of the Kaptai naval base, a training centre of the Bangladesh Navy, north of Kaptai upazila headquarters.

Indigenous inhabitants of Jhagrabil mouza petitioned the then prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia for cancellation of the project and the project was cancelled in 2004.

After coming to power the grand alliance government again took initiative to set up the RSTU at the same place. The Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati was asked to proceed with the acquisition of lands proposed for RSTU.

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and state minister for Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Dipankar Talukdar visited the sites of the proposed RUST and held a views exchange meeting on the situation of education in the CHT on March 10. But there was no representative from the CHTRC and local indigenous leader attending the meeting, a senior member of the CHTRC said.

Earlier, the local inhabitants petitioned the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on December 01, 2009 and September 21, 2010 as well as on May 11, 2009 to the education minister Nurul Islam Nahid, appealing for cancellation of the process of acquiring of their lands for the proposed project of the University.
The CHRTC source opined that the RUST was not necessary at all at this moment. He suggested that instead of it the facilities in three Government University Colleges in the three Hill District headquarters should be upgraded with honours courses on different subjects with provisions for necessary support facilities. Besides, arrangements should also be made for housing for the teachers and students.


courtesy: the independent (06.11.2010)

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