The UNDP on Thursday denied any controversial role in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
The organisation said this in its reaction to some media reports suggesting its involvement in conversion of poor ethnic minority people to Christianity.
‘We have seen some of the reports in a small number of dailies and we want to say that those are completely ‘baseless’, ‘untrue’ and ‘motivated’,’ said UNDP country director Stefan Priesner at a press conference held at the CHT affairs ministry in Dhaka.
The press conference was organised to inform the media of the forthcoming government programme to mark the 14th anniversary of the CHT Peace Accord signed between the government and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti on December 2, 1997.
CHT affairs acting secretary NBK Tripura briefed the journalists about the events to be held in December 5-9.
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, is expected to open the festival in the capital on December 5, he said.
Stefan Priesner said the UNDP was supporting the government and the local people in their development efforts.
The region has high potential to develop as a major economic hub of Bangladesh through tourism and other activities.
‘We don’t have any political agenda or any other interest in Bangladesh,’ he said, in his clarification to another question whether UNDP was favouring any particular ethnic group in the CHT, discriminating against the Bengali-speaking people and other ethnic minority communities.
‘We are providing jobs to all qualified persons from all communities in the CHT,’ he said.
NBK Tripura said the government, while implemented 21 out of 33 points of the peace accord, had undertaken many other development activities for the region.
He also said 235 army camps were pulled out from the CHT so far, while withdrawal of the rest was underway. The government, he said, would gradually pull out army camps as part of the conditions laid out in the peace treaty.
The government is also taking steps to amend the CHT Land Commission Act 2001, established to resolve the land disputes in the region.
A draft in this regard has been sent to the law ministry for review, he added.
Currently, more than 200 non-governmental organisations are active in the CHT and to oversee their activities a monitoring cell has been formed, he said, adding that investigation would be undertaken to see if any of these was involved in subversive activities in the region, constituting 10 per cent of the total area of the country.
courtesy: New Age