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Chakma Repatriation Treaty Signed, First Batch To Leave On Mar 28

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Bangladesh and Chakma refugee leaders yesterday signed a historic agreement for repatriation of the 50,000 refugees, sheltered in six camps in Tripura for the past eleven years, from March 28 next.

The agreement was signed here by A S M Mubaidul Islam, director (special affairs) Bangladesh prime ministers secretariat and Upendra Lal Chakma, president of the hill Chittagong Refugees Welfare Association. Announcing the agreement at a press conference here, leader of the Bangladesh delegation, Abdul Hasnat Abdullah, chief whip of the Bangladesh parliament, said both the Chakmas and Bangladesh agreed on a 20-point formula for repatriation. The first batch of five thousand refugees would leave for Chittagong hill track on March 28 next. Abdullah said that once the process of repatriation started it would be completed soon and there will be absolutely no problem.

The Bangladesh high commissioner in India, C M Shafi Sami, also took part in the series of discussion held between the Bangladesh delegation and Chakma leaders.

As per the joint agreement, the Bangladesh government would provide building materials and Rs 15,000 to each family for construction of houses and firming purposes, free ration for nine months, an additional Rs 10,000 for purchase of a pair of bullock. The government would also restore land to them and provide adequate security to the returnees. These apart, landless persons would be provided land as per the rule of the Bangladesh government.

Financial assistance would be provided from the banks and the government would take steps to waive old loan of the Chakmas. Steps would also be taken to provide government jobs as per their qualification.

We are happy that we are going to return our native place, Upendra Lal Chakma said while describing the joint agreement as historic. With this present situation and improved relation between the two countries, I hope there will be no problem for the Chakmas, he said.

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First Published: Mon, March 10 1997. 00:00 IST
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