Secret Memos of the Bangladesh Government

President Ziaur Rahman presided at a secret, mid-1979 meeting during which it was decided to settle thousands of Bangladeshi families in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) during the following year. The Commissioner of Chittagong Division and the Deputy Commissioner of the CHT sent the following two secret memorandums to the government officers of the Bangladeshi districts to implement the scheme.

Secret Memorandum

Chittagong Division

Memo No. 665-C
To: Mr.
It has been decided that landless/river erosion affected people from your district will be settled in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs). The settlement will be done in selected Zones and each family will be given Khas land free of cost according to the following scale:-

Plain land 2.5 acres
Plain and bumpy mixed 4 acres
Hilly land 5 acres

It has been decided that you will send 5,000 families.

You are requested to collect particulars of intending and suitable families from the Chairman of the concerned Union Parishads sought them out and furnish list to the Deputy Commissioner, CHTs through special messenger by the 30th of Sept./80 at the latest. To keep paper record of the selected settlers, group leaders and issue of Identity card in all districts in an uniform manner, detail guidelines have been prepared (copy enclosed) so that you can ensure strict compliance of the concerned Union Parishad Chairman.

It is the desire of the Govt. that the concerned Deputy Commissioner will give top priority to this work and make the programme a success.

You are requested to immediately call a meeting of the concerned Chairman, Union Parishads and give them detailed instructions in the matter.

I would like to have a report about the action taken by you in the matter by 15.9.80 positively for information of the Govt.

Sd/Saifuddin Ahamed,
Chittagong Division


Govt. of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh,
Office of the Deputy Commissioner, CHTs.

Memo No.1025(9)C Dt. Rangamati, 15th Sept./80

From: Mr. Ali Haider Khan,
Deputy Commissioner,
Chittagong Hill Tracts.

To: Mr.

Sub: Settlement of landless non-tribal families in CHTs -2nd Phase

With reference to our discussion in Dacca on 21-8-80 and reference to Commissioner. Chittagong Division's letter No. 66(9)/C dt.4-9-80 on the above noted subject, I furnish below a guideline regarding the programme of settlement of landless non-tribal families from other districts in CHTs:-
  1. Selection of families should be completed by 15th Oct. 80
  2. The Chairman of the Union Parishads concerned will issue identity cards to the selected families in the forma enclosed an Annexene (A)
  3. Names of families groupwise should be sent to us by 22nd October/80. On the receipt of these lists we shall decide as to where they will be rehabilitated and shall indicate to you on which dates the groups should report to the reception centre at the Haji camp (pilgrimage camp), Chittagong.
  4. At the reception centre an officer will take care of the settlers and will make arrangements for their journies to the rehabilitation blocks. The settlers will however, arrange their own food.
  5. At the reception centre settlers will be given taka 200/- per familiy and on their arrival at their rehabilitation blocks they will be paid another instalment of taka 500/-. After that, each family will be given further grants(C) taka-200/- per month for five more months. In addition for 6 months the settlers will be given 12 seers of wheats per family per week under Food For Work Programme for construction of their own houses, reclaiming their lands, making village roads for them and for digging tanks in their own paras (areas). For another six months there will be provision for wheat under strict Food For Work Progarmme.
  6. In rehabilitation blocks each family will be settled with Khas land at the following rate:
    1. 5 acre hilly land
    2. 4 acres mixed land
    3. 2.5 acres paddy land
I enclose here with an annexure 'B' an instruction for the Chairman of the Union Parishad where from the families will be sected.

Sd/Ali Haider Khan
Chittagong Hill Tracts


  • Chittagong Hill Tracts: Militarization, Oppression and the Hill Tribes (London: Anti Slavery Society, 1984): 23-29