‘Most of the Char farmers cultivate in the Char lands based on informal lease. There is no formal legal basis for their ownership of the land. As a result, they suffer from a lack of confidence. It is therefore very important to formalize the rights of Char farmers. This will further improve the life and livelihood of the people of Char. Some actions need to be done in this regard at the policy-making stage.’
Dr. Atiur Rahman, Founding Chairman, National Char Alliance and Former Governor, Bangladesh Bank said this on a dialogue titled ‘Land for Char People: Reforms and Prospects’ organized by a research-based organization Shamunnay and National Char Alliance, an alliance working for the development of Char people,
held on December 22 at Bisshwa Sahitya Kendra in the capital. Planning Minister MA Mannan MP was present as the chief guest in the dialogue. Manusher Jonno Foundation has cooperated organizing the dialogue program. Dr. Atiur Rahman added,
“Market economy has created a new reality presently. In this case, the reality of ‘operational’ rights of Char land must be accepted. Rather, we should build a roadmap based on our own experience instead of a theoretical solution to the question of land rights for the people of Char.” Special guests at the meeting were Ahmed Firoz Kabir, Member of Parliament for Pabna-02 constituency; Advocate Umme Kulsum Smriti MP,
Member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and General Secretary of the Central Krishak League; Lutfunnesa Khan MP, Member of the Standing Committee on Women and Children; and Advocate Khodeja Nasrin Akhter Hossain MP, member of the Standing Committee on Law and Judicial Affairs.
Shoaib Sazzad Khan, Senior Program Coordinator, Manusher Jonno Foundation, delivered the welcome address. The concluding speech was delivered by Shaheen Ul Alam, Secretary of Samunnay. Zahid Rahman, Member Secretary of National Char Alliance moderated the whole dialogue session.
Participants in the dialogue said that Char land cover about 10 percent of the total land of Bangladesh. Most of the people living in Char are farmers and fishermen. They are making a huge contribution to the economic development of the country.
In addition to the formation of a Char board for the development of Char people, a policy on the use of Char lands needs to be expedited. At the same time, a database should be developed identifying properly the real landless people of the Char and a Krishi card should be made available for the Krishok (peasant) Krishani (female peasant) of the Char.