Saturday, January 7, 2012
MoCHTA seeks opinion to change land-related section 64 & 65 of HDC Act in violation of CHT Accord
Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA), which was set up as per CHT Accord, sought opinion to change land-related section 64(1)(a) & 65 of three Hill District Council Acts of 1989 violating the provision of CHT Accord.
It is learnt that the MoCHTA sent a letter dated 29 November 2011 signed by Md. Nurul Amin, Assistant Secretary of the MOCHTA to the Chief Executive Officers of Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban Hill District Councils (HDCs) seeking opinion to alter or omit the land-related section 64(1)(a) & 65 of three Hill District Council Acts of 1989. The opinion was sought in accordance with the decision on MoCHTA adopted in the Deputy Commissioners Conference held on 26-28 July 2011. The decision on MoCHTA of the Deputy Commissioners Conference is as follows-
(1) To replace the words “prior permission of the Council” of the Section 64(1)(a) of the HDC Act of 1989 with the words “no objection of the Council” in order to avoid long process in changing the land record;
(2) To omit the Section 64 on Collection of Land Development Tax of the HDC Act of 1989.
The MoCHTA in its letter asked the Chief Executive Officers to send their opinions within 15 days. The decision in the Deputy Commissioners Conference was taken with an aim to strengthen the powers and functions of the Deputy Commissioners including responsibilities of the collection of land development tax.
The CHT Accord provides that “Section 64 shall be amended and enacted as follows: (a) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no land and premises, including the leasable Khas lands, within the territorial limits of the Hill Districts shall be transferable by Ijara, settlement, purchase or sale except with the prior permission of the Council; Provided that this provision shall not be applicable in respect of the area of Reserved Forest, Kaptai Hydro-electric Project, Betbunia Satellite Station, State-owned in the industries and factories and the lands recorded in the name of the Government."
Further, the Accord stipulates that “Section 65 shall be amended and formulated as follows: "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the responsibility of collecting the Land Development Tax of the district shall rest in the hands of the Council and the collected tax of the district shall be deposited in the fund of the Council."
In addition, as per the Accord, “Land and Land Management” is included in the First Schedule of the HDC Acts as a function of the HDCs. A proposal was sent to the government to transfer the responsibility of “land and land management” to the HDCs as per the CHT Accord. But till today, the subject has not been transferred to the HDCs. Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of the hill districts continue to exercise power of the land management in violation of the HDC Acts by misusing the 1900 CHT Regulation.
The letter sparks strong reaction among the people of the CHT. They said that the MoCHTA cannot issue this letter as it is direct violation of the CHT Accord. The hill people cannot expect such anti-accord role of the MoCHTA as it is set up as per the Accord with an aim to look after the interest of the CHT people.
Mr. Sajib Chakma, assistant secretary for information and publicity department of the PCJSS said that rather playing strong role to execute these land-related provisions of the HDC Acts of 1989 and to transfer the subject of ‘land and land management’ to the HDCs, the MoCHTA is seeking opinion to alter or omit the land-related section 64(1)(a) & 65 of three Hill District Council Acts of 1989. This is not acceptable at all. This is again proved that the MoCHTA is often found to take stands which go against the interest of the hill people.
Please find the letter of the MoCHTA attached below:
Posted by CHT NEWS UPDATE at 1:02 AM