POST TIME: 28 November, 2020 09:28:58 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 28 November, 2020 10:14:21 PM
Locals demand not to allocate land over 20 acres
Five-star hotel project in Bandarban
DEEPAK ACHARJEE, from Chandrapahar (Bandarban)

Locals demand not to allocate land over 20 acres

People of Chandrapahar area in Lama upazila under Bandarban district have asked the authorities concerned not to allocate more than the currently estimated 20 acres of land for constructing a five-star hotel and amusement park project in the hilly area.

The international hotel project, titled ‘Marriott Hotel and Amusement Park,’ if constructed on more than the estimated leased land size, would create crisis of cultivable jhum land in the area, locals fear.

When The Independent correspondent visited the area, local people informed that some leaders of the local community were trying to organise innocent people by staging protests opposing the construction of an international-standard tourist hotel and resort in the hill district.

Arjun Mru, Member of 6 No.  Kalinga Union Parishad under Lama Upazila, said local people would be benefited if the proposed five-star hotel is constructed.

“We will be able to sell our products at a high price once the five-star hotel becomes operational in the area. Now we are selling papaya at a cheap price like Tk 500 per maund. But we will sell papaya at Tk 100-120 per kilogram after completion of the tourist spot,” he said.

He, however, hoped that the authorities of Marriot will recruit local people as staff in different trades of the hotel to help them have employment as many of their community remain jobless and underprivileged.

Laxkan Mru, member of Ansar VDP in Lama Upzila, said local people are happy about constructing the aristocratic hotel as he believed that the authorities would recruit from among locals.

“People of Kaprupara and Dolapara, located one and a half and two kilometres off the hotel spot, are dependent on jhum cultivation on hilly land of the areas. It would be impossible to continue jhum cultivation after constructing the hotel. And that’s why, the authorities concerned should take steps to provide required support to the locals for their better survival,” he said.

This correspondent also talked to a number of villagers, including Alex Tripura, of Balibazar.

Alex Tripura informed that there was no human inhabitation near the hotel spot in Chandrapahar area as the place remained abandoned for years.

But some people of Lama Upazila in connivance with some leaders of local political groups have been spreading propaganda opposing the construction of Marriott Hotel, he said.

Shahid Uz Zaman, site engineer of the hotel project in Chandrapahar area, told The Independent that they started the hotel’s construction work since October last.

“When implemented, the project will be one of the best tourist attractions in Bangladesh. Besides the main hotel building, there will be one seven-storied building, four five-storied buildings, 23 separate villas, one staff quarter, two helipads, and modern cable cars to facilitate tourists' travel from one hill to another,” he said.

“There will also have various kinds of amusement facilities, including rides and swimming pools,” he added.

Kyaw Shwe Hla, Chairman of the Bandarban Hill District Council, said several quarters have become active against the project for their political gain.

"Everyone knows who are doing this. They have been opposing any development project in the CHT. They don’t like peace,” he said.

“The estimated land for the project remained abandoned for years and not even a single individual would be displaced for the construction of the resort,” he assured.

When contacted, a senior army officer of the Bandarban region told The Independent that a local private company - R&R Holding in cooperation with the Army Welfare Trust - are building the tourism spot and resort in the area under joint venture arrangement.

“As part of boosting the country’s tourism, authorities concerned have taken lease of 20 acres of land from the Bandarban Hill District Council with a view to heightening infrastructural development in the hills,” he said.

“It,” he added, “will be possible to recruit at least 250 employees for the hotel.”

“Vested quarters and interested groups are raising voice against the development work since beginning of construction in October this year,” he informed.

A signboard with a graphical presentation of the hotel and resort under construction can be seen now from afar. The site is on the Chimbuk-Thanchi route and 47 kilometres southeast of Bandarban district town.

According to the projection, the tourism spot and resort is likely to open for tourists by September 2021.