Mro people at risk of displacement as Sikdar group constructs five star hotel in Bandarban

Bandarban Mro people with placards protest the construction of a five-star hotel and tourist spot by R&R Holdings Limited, a concern of Sikder Group Dhaka Tribune

The Mro people have alleged if the project is implemented, it will directly affect six villages of the Mro community and indirectly affect another 70 to 116 villages of the community

Mro people in Bandarban have been protesting the construction of a five-star hotel and tourist spot in Chimbuk Hill area by R&R Holdings Limited, a concern of Sikder Group.

According to sources, Sikder Group has been trying to grab about 1,000 acres of jhum land from Kapru Para Bazar to Jiban Nagar area in the name of constructing a hotel and creating a tourist spot. The group has already installed many signboards claiming the land.

The Mro people have alleged if the project is implemented, it will directly affect six villages of the Mro community and indirectly affect another 70 to 116 villages of the community.

They also said the project would displace around 11,000 jhum cultivators from their ancestral land.

Karbari Longnong, a resident of Chimbuk’s Dolapara area, said: “An embankment is supposed to be built through grabbing our cremation ground and source of water.”

Student leader Rewang, who studies at Jahangirnagar University, said: “This land and soil belong to our ancestors. It is not development if they want to build an amusement park by grabbing our land.”

When contacted, Sikder group’s Chief coordinator Farid Uddin received the call once and then hung up, after saying that he was busy.

Earlier on November 2, the International CHT Commission expressed concern over the possible displacement of Mro people from several villages because of the proposed five-star hotel project in Bandarban.

It called for immediate cancellation of the project and selection of more community-secure sites based on ‘Free Prior and Informed Consent’ protocol for any tourism projects in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, according to a press statement.

The commission said that the construction of a five-star hotel on the Chimbuk-Thanchi road of Bandarban district of the Chittagong Hill Tracts would directly displace poor Mro villagers from three villages around the project site and threaten to displace villagers from five other villages.

The CHT Commission recommended that the hotel project should be immediately abandoned and a more appropriate location acceptable to the local community be identified for the tourist project in consultation with local stakeholders as well as the CHT Regional Council and the Bandarban Hill District Council.

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