Handing over the local Tourism to the three Hill District Council

As per CHT Accord, the subject of local tourism was handed over to the three Hill district Councils on 28 August 2014 Thursday morning. A signing ceremony was taken place at a hotel in Dhaka for the same. It is alleged that the only mere authority of tourism initiated by the Hill District Councils was bestowed upon the Hill District Councils. The main powers and functions of the tourism were retained with national authorities. The responsibility of financial management and establishments in the three hill districts were not handed over to the Hill District Councils.

It is reported that a draft of the contract was sent earlier to the three Hill District Councils, but the Hill District Councils had objected to sign the contract as the substantial authorities were excluded in the contract. Even after finalising the date of the handing over event, there had also been a written objection from the Hill District Councils, which the government overlooked.

However, all the three Hill District Council Chairmen have signed the contract paper, all of are selected by the ruling Awami League Party. Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon has mentioned that handing over the contract is a part of implementation of the CHT Accord. He also expressed his gratitude as he always spoke about implementation of the CHT Accord and for the indigenous people’s rights. As the chief gust, Dr. Gauhar Rizvi, advisor on international affairs to the prime minister, has also indicated that very soon CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act will be amended for settlement of land disputes in CHT.

The government claimed that by handing over of tourism department, a total of 29 departments/subjects out of 33 subjects have been handed over to the Hill District Councils for far. However, the PCJSS, a signatory of the CHT Accord, said that government’s claiming for handing over of 29 departments/subjects was misleading and also untrue. It is alleged that transfers of some offices/works of earlier transferred subjects/departments were counted as a separate subject or department. For example, transfer of Ramgarh Hatchery Farm under Fisheries and Livestock Department and Child Home (Shishu Sadan) under Social Welfare Department in 12 November 2012 were counted as separate department.

On the other hand, the Government does not take any initiative in transferring the most crucial subjects, such as, Law & Order of the districts, Land & Land Management, Police (local), Forest, Environment, Preservation of Statistics on Birth & Death, etc. In contrast to the question of transferring the major important subjects, the recent defective transfer of powers and functions in a pompous manner spells to have been nothing but an eye-wash on the part of the government.