Speakers at a views exchange meeting yesterday called upon the government to empower the traditional social institutions of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and include indigenous leaders in every development activity in the region.
They were speaking at the meeting organised by Bandarban Bohmong Headmen-Karbari Association at Bandarban Khudra Nrigosthir Sangskritik Institute with its president, seventeenth Bohmong Circle King engineer U Chaw Prue, in the chair.
Local lawmaker and state minister for CHT affairs Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing was chief guest at the programme.
The speakers demanded cancelation of the leases of rubber plots in remote Lama, Alikadom and Nykkhongchhari upazillas of the district as the influential lease holders grabbed vast tracts of jhum land in the name of rubber plantation.
They also claimed that the forest department occupied around one lakh acres of jhum land following a declaration of some areas as reserve forest in early 1980, and demanded cancelation of the declaration.
Bohmong circle chief engineer U Chaw Prue in his speech urged the headmen and karbaris of 109 mouzas of Bohmong dynasty to pay Tk 100 jhum tax instead of Tk 6 from next year.
The leaders placed a set of recommendations, including ensuring of participation of circle chief, headmen and village chiefs in all local government development activities.
Bandarban Bohmong Headmen Association Secretary Suilaprue Chowdhury, Executive Director of LRD ShaTi Mong Prue, Deputy Commissioner DIlip Kumar Banik, and Superintendent of Bandarban police Sanjith Kumar Roy, ADC revenue Harunur Rashid Aung Shwe Prue Karbari, Hla Thuri headman, Mong Kyaw Nu headman and Bohmong king U Chaw Prue also spoke on the occasion.