Impacts of Road Construction on the Natural Environment and the Indigenous Peoples of the Chattogram Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

Daud A Z M Farhan, Kenichi Matsui


Road construction raises a number of sustainability concerns. It becomes more complicated when it affects Indigenous people and their traditional livelihoods. This study attempts to examine the impacts of road construction on Indigenous peoples of the Chattogram Hill Tracts. There have been very limited studies to understand how Indigenous people and government road construction experts perceived about road impacts in this area. Given historical grievances among these Indigenous people since the British colonial period, it is important to examine what can be the causes of frictions. This research conducted a thorough examination of available documents, including government reports and past studies. It then conducted two separate surveys among government road construction experts and Indigenous people in the Chattogram Hill Tracts. Through our documentary review on past road construction, we identified that road construction caused deforestation, biodiversity loss, loss of Indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands, land degradation and drainage congestion. The survey among government experts identified agricultural land reduction, soil destabilization, landslide, deforestation, greenhouse gas emission, the emission of dust and particulate matters and substantial noise pollution. The survey among Indigenous people revealed that 95 percent of them did not receive any compensation. They lost land and other properties. Their agricultural production was reduced. A small proportion of them, however, did gain new employment and increased their income. Many recognized better accessibility to schools and health centers due to new roads.

Keywords: Indigenous Peoples; Chattogram Hill Tracts; Road Construction; Land Encroachment; Environmental Impacts

DOI: 10.7176/DCS/13-5-02

Publication date:July 31st 2023

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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