Separate allocation for ethnic minorities living in the plains demandedStaff Correspondent
Representatives of ethnic minority groups on Wednesday demanded separate and increased allocation in the national budget for ethnic minority people living in the plains.
Speaking at a discussion they said that there is no mention of the indigenous people living in the plains in the annual development programme.
The indigenous peoples living in the plains are treated as people living in special areas other than hill tracts though, though as among the most disadvantaged groups they deserve greater budgetary allocation to improve their socio-economic status, they said.
The discussion on ‘budget and the indigenous peoples,’ was organized by Research and Development Collective.
Promod Mankin, the state minister for cultural affairs demanded a specific law for the development of the indigenous people in Chittagong Hill Tracts as well as in the plains.
He said that he was simply repeating what he had said in parliament during budget discussions to reiterate the demand.
He said that during the budget discussions he also called for the creation of a separate ministry for the ethnic minorities living in the plains.
In his keynote paper, Dhaka University History department professor and chairman of Research and Development Collective Mesbah Kamal described the allocation in the development budget for the indigenous peoples as very inadequate to meet the needs of indigenous peoples living in the plains as well as in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
In his keynote paper, ‘Reflections on Budgetary Allocations for the Indigenous Peoples in the Budget Proposed for 2012-13,’ he pointed out that the discriminatory allocation for the indigenous peoples in CHT or those living in the plains was more profound considering the overall per capita allocation in the ADP.
‘Each fiscal year the government makes huge allocations for development, but the allocations for the indigenous people is very insignificant, and for the indigenous peoples living in the plains it is horrendously poor’, he said.
Bangladesh Adibhasi Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Drong said that the indigenous people in CHT cannot take their own decision because the 22-member CHT Regional Council has only two representatives from the indigenous peoples.
‘It is very bad for our future,’ he said.
Then again, said Abhilash Tripura, national coordinator of an ILO project, the hill district members also do not have positive attitude towards the indigenous peoples.
Rashed Khan Menon, MP, and Shawkat Momen Shahjahan, MP, chaired the discussions.
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