At least 3,300 landless indigenous families have not yet got permanent settlement of the government land where they have been living for 30 years.
Sources said the government gave 20,625 acres upland (high land) to 3,300 families in 1979-1980 financial year under the 'Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board upland project' to settle floating indigenous people in CHT.
Each family was provided with 6.25 acres land and other facilities including house to make them financially independent.
According to deputy commissioner's (DC) office, the government rehabilitated 600 families in Bhaibonchhara, 580 families in Gasbon, 220 families in Bairafa, 600 families in Dighinala, 500 families in Matiranga under Khagrachhari district while 300 families in Bagaichhari area under Rangamati and 500 families in Bandarban.
The government also made a contract with those people in the same year of their rehabilitation (1979-1980) and assured them of giving permanent settlement with appropriate land documents by the authority concerned.
"As per the contract, we have been looking after the land and orchard since 1979-1980. The authority concerned is also taking 40 per cent of the total income every year according to the contract. But the government still keeps us as temporary caretakers," said Madhusudon Tripura, 50, a landless person of Gasbon area under Sadar upazila in the district.
When asked about the reason for delay, General Manager (GM) of the Upland Project under CHT Development Board Mohammad Ali Hydar said the settlement process was ignored due to negligence of former GM.
"I've already completed all process to bring 3,300 landless indigenous people under a permanent settlement as per the contract between them and the CHT Development Board," he said, adding that it now depends on the DC's office.
DC Mohammad Abdullah said the process could not be completed due to complication related to land and lack of a proper survey.
"We are not the sole authority for their permanent settlement. The three Parbatya Zilla Parishads are also responsible as per Parbatya Zilla Parishad Act, 1989," he said.
He said some 1,270 applications of the landless people were pending with the assistant commissioner's (land) office while 1,217 applications with DC office, 563 with Khagrachhari Hill District Council for land registration.
Khagrachhari Hill District Council Chairman Ruhity Karbary said his office could not proceed due to some complication over land. But land registration of about 250 families has been completed and documents will be handed over to them by September 15, he added.
"To resolve the issue, the officials are working hard and we shall give the landless people documents of permanent settlement by October," he said.