Cabinet move to amend CHT land dispute law

The Cabinet on Monday approved in principle the draft of the Chittagong
Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2013 that
seeks to make the Commission more active and effective.The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at
the Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain
Bhuiyan said that the amendment to the existing law of 2001 has been
proposed after consultation with the concerned stakeholders to make the law
more effective.
He said that after the amendment is enacted into law, the CHT Land Dispute
Resolution Commission will be able to function actively and effectively.
The amendment proposed that the lands of the CHT area which remained under
illegal occupation and used for rehabilitation of the refugees in light of
the CHT Peace Accord of 1997 will come under the jurisdiction of the
Commission.
The proposed amendment says that majority members of the 5-member
commission including the chairman could settle the land dispute of
rehabilitated refugees in the Chittagong Hill Tracts if unanimous decision
could not be reached.
Under the existing provision, unanimous decision is needed to settle the
dispute and in absence of unanimous decision, the chairman of the
commission alone could give the decision, said Musharraf.
The amendment also proposed to give priority to the local tribal people
while recruiting manpower for the commission.
The Cabinet has given directives to the Land Ministry to frame necessary
rules within three months for execution of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)
Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act.
Besides, under the proposed amendment, concerned Circle Chiefs in the CHT,
if he or she is unable to attend a meeting of the Commission as a member,
can send a representative with full authority to give decision on any issue.
The day’s Cabinet meeting also approved a proposal for amending the law for
mandatory use of jute and jute products for packaging of goods. Under the
proposal, three more members would be included in addition to the 14-member
committee responsible for execution of the law.
The three new members are chairmen of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation
(BJMC), Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) and Bangladesh Jute
Spinners Association (BJSA).
The cabinet meeting also approved the proposals for ratifying the agreement
on avoiding double taxation with India and establishment of SAARC Seed Bank.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed to establish the SAARC Seed Bank
during the SAARC Summit held in Bhutanese capital Thimpu in 2010, which was
later approved by the SAARC member countries.
The cabinet also approved the proposal for waiving the outstanding
telephone bills of eight deceased lawmakers till the 8th Parliament
amounting to Tk 11,90,149.09.
Cabinet members, Advisors to the Prime Minister and State Ministers
concerned attended the meeting while concerned secretaries were present.
(Source: UNB)

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