The government is going to set up land offices in 10 more upazilas under three Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT) districts to settle land disputes and provide better services to the people of the areas.
The land offices will be established in Ruangchari, Ruma, Thanchi, Alikadam and Naikhangchhari of Bandarban district, Baghaichari, Kaptai and Kawkhali of Rangamati district, and Panchagari and Lakshchhari Upazila of Khagrachari district.There are 26 upazilas in the three hill districts -- seven under Bandarban, nine under Khagrachhari and 10 under Rangamati.
Land offices already exist in two upazilas under Bandarban, six upazilas under Khagrachhari and two upazilas under Rangamati.
Land ministry source said it is very difficult to ensure proper land management, quick service delivery and revenue collection in the rest 16 upazilas due to non-existence of land offices there.
The ministry has already sent proposals to the cabinet division on setting up of land offices in the 10 upazilas.
The secretaries’ committee on administrative improvement affairs in cabinet division on September 16 approved the proposal to set up the 10 land offices after the land ministry presented the proposal to the committee meeting.
The land ministry proposed to create 100 posts by setting up the land offices in the 10 upazilas of the three CHT districts but the secretaries’ committee on administrative improvement affairs gave approval to create 90 posts after scrutinising the proposal.Cabinet Division Secretary (Coordination and Reforms) MN Ziaul Alam said the secretaries’ committee on administrative improvement affairs gave an approval to create the 90 posts by setting up the land offices in the 10 upazilas of CHT following the land ministry proposal.
Earlier, the land ministry sent the proposal to the cabinet division after receiving approval from the finance ministry and the public administration ministry to set up the new land offices.
The land ministry sources said presently there are land offices in Sadar upazila and Lama of Bandarban, Sadar Upazila and Langadu Upazila of Rangamati, and Khagrachhari Sadar, Dighinala, Mahalchari, Matiranga, Ramgarh and Manikchhari upazilas of Khagrachari district.
Officials of the ministry said they want to settle land disputes in cooperation with local administration. For this, 10 new posts of assistant commissioners (AC) of land are being created and the new offices will be set up for them.
“The ACs and headmen will try to settle land disputes in cooperation with the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission. Twenty-one years after the peace agreement between Shanti Bahini and the then Awami League government was signed, the authorities have not been able to resolve land disputes in the hill districts. That is why, crises have been created by various quarters in the hills from time to time,” they added.
The peace accord was signed on December 2, 1997 for ending decades-long bloody struggle in the volatile hill tracts. As land disputes persist like a festering sore, every now and then conflicts and communal riots break out in the hills.
About the land dispute in CHT, Law Minister Anisul Huq has recently said at a programme that the government is working sincerely to speed up the process to resolve the land disputes in CHT region.
He also said the government is sincere enough to speed up the process to resolve the land related disputes in the CHT. Nine amendments have been made to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act to end the crisis.
The government has given permission to set up two regional offices of Land Dispute Resolution Commission in Rangamati and Bandarban to ease its activities, the minister added