The people who led the arson attack at Langadu upazila in Rangamati are still at large, Brahmanbaria parliamentarian RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury said on Sunday at the inauguration of Strengthening Inclusive Development in CHT (SID-CHT) project in Dhaka.
Muktadir, who is the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Affairs, said it was not good enough just to launch development projects and allocate money for the region; political issues should be addressed as well.
“Development is not possible only by spending money. We need to ensure the environment for that development to take place. It is a must-have,” he further added.
“Since political and administrative problems still exist in the region, we need to ensure that the local people participate in their own development projects so the projects run properly.”
The ministry is implementing the SID-CHT project, to cost more than $31 million (around Tk257 crore), with the support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Danish International Development Agency (Danida).
This is the continuation of a previous project, named Promotion of Development and Confidence Building in the CHT, which was launched in 2003 in the three CHT districts – Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban – and ended recently with significant results.
State Minister for CHT Affairs Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing said the SID-CHT project had been initiated to continue the development of the hill people in light of the recently ended project, and make it sustainable.
He said: “The Ministry of CHT Affairs, UNDP and other development partners will jointly fund the project for the period of 2017-2021.”
The state minister also said the government had prioritised CHT's development in its budget.
The Ministry of CHT Affairs has implemented 1,824 projects/schemes under the annual development plan (ADP) at the cost of Tk670.86 crore in 2016-17 fiscal year. For the current fiscal year, the government has allocated Tk849.26 crore, he said.
“The purpose of development interventions in the CHT is to make the entire region conflict-proof so that the people can pursue their development aspirations in peaceful democratic environment and that no one is left behind. There is no peace without development and no development without peace,” said Kyoko Yokosuka, acting country director of UNDP Bangladesh.
The ceremony was also attended by Abul Kalam Azad, principal coordinator for Sustainable Development Goals Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office, Naba Bikram Tripura, secretary at the Ministry of CHT Affairs, Peter Bogh Jensen, head of cooperation at the Danida Bangladesh and Janina Jaruzaiski, mission director of USAID Bangladesh, among others.
UNDP Programme Coordinator Prasenjit Chakma presented the keynote papers.