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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

51st RC council meeting, Larma urges fellow councilors to be active

Mr. Santu Larma, Chairman of the CHT Regional Council who took the charge of the council on 12th May 1999.

“Please be active in the Regional Council’s works, otherwise I shall not be held responsible.”, Mr. Santu Larma, chair of the CHT Regional Council earnestly urged his fellow councilors in the 51st CHTRC council meeting held on 27th instant at Rangamati. With this urge he indirectly hold RC councilors responsible for the present weak state of the RC. Except Mr. Larma and Mr. Mahbubur Rahman none spoke in the 3-hour long RC council meeting.

Mr. Larma urged this in both inaugural and concluding speeches. He also told that "The RC is now weak, it lacks officials and earlier unity in the council is absent. Now big distance prevails between the Chairman and the councilors and among the councilors." He also said that the Govt does not co-operate the RC and the overall CHT situation is not favourable. "I asked Begum Sajeda Chowdhury to ban UPDF and also take action against those who are with them." Mr. Larma told this when he was briefing the RC councilors in the meeting. Larma further claimed that it is his intervention which has stopped the CHT Land Commission's controversial hearing.

“Mr. Santu Larma has crippled the Regional Council by his autocratic misrule. ICB (Institutional Capacity Building) mission of the UNDP-CHTDF nailed out Mr. Larma's ‘autocratic decision making process’ in RC in Feb 2006. He has brought frustration among the RC officials, staff and the councilors. He has excluded capable councilors from the RC in sheer violation of the RC law.” Mr. Rupayan Dewan, a former close associate of Larma and also a councilor brought these accusations to the CHT Voice against a question raised before him on Mr. Larma’s call to his councilors for being active in the RC.

Mr. Dewan further says "We all shall cooperate Mr. Larma and shall work like before for our council. We don't want to be liability of the council and the people but we want to be their assets. It is he who has excluded us from the council illegally. He wants our absolute loyalty without our opinion. He should be free from his autocratic rule and he shall have to show his positive gesture."

No computer is seen on the computer table and the costly printer has also been taken away by Regional Council staff from the office room of Rupayan Dewan, Councilor, CHT Regional Council with the order of Mr. Santu Larma. The office table is seen most disorganized which was done so during the raid. PHOTO: Rupayan Dewan.

Mr. Mahbubur Rahman, a councilor and a leader of Awami League held the Ministry Secretaries responsible for opposing the RC works as they do not work on the matters sent by the RC. He proposes to sue against the Secretaries of some Ministries for not working as per law. He thinks that RC council meeting is unnecessary in future if there is no any progress on the pending matters sent to the ministries.

Mahbub, with great emotion, said in the council meeting, “We’re associated with the Regional Council for long years and there is no use of being with this council if there are no visible achievements. We should not continue our councillorship against our conscience if we can’t work for the people.” He suggested for “in-depth discussion with all councilors to nail out the reasons of inactiveness of the councilors” in the meeting, in response to Mr. Larma’s earnest request for activeness of all the councilors. And, according to him, “Mr. Larma tactfully avoided my suggestion”.

Mahbub strongly recommended to Mr. Dewan that a RC delegation should now go to Dhaka and arrange a press conference on the present state of RC and then talk to the Ministries and tell them that they have to face legal battle for violating laws. Another councilor and also an Awami League leader preferring anonymity tells that Mr. Larma is solely responsible for keeping RC as an weak institution through autocratic leadership. He strongly prefers a deputation of the RC councilors to the Prime Minister against Mr. Larma’s misrule.

For failing get absolute loyalty in the JSS, Larma deliberately excluded Mr. Rupayan Dewan, Mr. Sudhasindhu Khisa, Mr. KS Mong and Dr. Nilu Kumar Tanchangya from the council’s activities (all are central committee members of the JSS). Mr. Khisa was excluded from the convenership of RC committee on education, culture and tribal customs and all RC activities in 2006 and officially removed from the convernership in early 2010. Similarly, Dr. Nilu was excluded from the convenership of RC committee on health in 2009 for his prayer to quit the JSS. In August when a team was meeting an inter-ministerial meeting in Dhaka at Land Ministry on the issue of land survey Mr. Larma gave stern order to Goutam Kumar Chama, a RC councilor so that he excludes Mr. KS Mong from the team.

Sofa space is without the sofa set as Santu Larma confiscated all the office belongings from the RC office room allotted for Rupayan Dewan. PHOTO: Rupayan Dewan.

According to Mr. KS Mong, a voice of the council, Mr. Larma removed him from the convenership some 6 years ago and gradually excluded him from RC works and since last 7 months he has been completely excluded from RC activities. Mr. Sudhasindhu Khisa remarks that as the head of the RC Mr. Santu Larma shoulders full responsibility for the weak state of the RC. Mr. Jafar Ahmed, a RC councilor and Adviser, Khagarachari District Awami League recommends for discussion of this issue in the next RC council meeting. According to Mr. Raktotpal Tripura, a RC councilor and also a JSS veteran, there should have a discussion in next RC council meeting on the issue. He further agreed that the councilors can think over the matter before the next council meeting.

In mid-2007 Larma excluded Rupayan from council activities though he was active as convener of Development Committee of the RC. With a plea of “no work” in the council Larma applied administrative pressure upon Dewan through Mr. Krishna Chandra Chakma, in-charge Chief Executive Officer to surrender the office room which was allotted on 1 Aug 2004. Mr. Krishna C. Chakma asked Mr. Dewan 2 times to surrender the office room located at annex building. Mr. Dewan, both times advised Mr. Krishna C. Chakma to issue formal letter which did not happen for obvious reason.

Being upset with Mr. Larma’s ill move Mr. Dewan protested on 14 Feb 2008 through a 11-page memo with adequate annexure, as proof of Larma’s violation of certain Sections of the RC law, administrative and financial irregularities and etc. He accused Larma for violating Sections 9, 14(1), 23, 24(1) and 39 of the RC Act. Mr. Larma was furious with the memo and without killing a single moment confiscated all the official and personal belongings of Dewan from his office room e.g. computer, printer, phone set, other office equipments, furniture, crockery and everything in his absence. Mr. Dewan sent reminder afterward and as of now Mr. Larma did not answer to his memo.

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