|Studio:||X ( Thesis )|
|Studio Master:||Ashik Ikbal, Dilruba Ferdous Shuvra, Rashed Hasan|
|University:||American International University Bangladesh|
Bangladesh is a land full of resources yet the economic security of its considerable portion of population is at stake today. Especially the economy of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), the home of several ethnic communities (EC), is weaker than the rest of the country. Statistics shows, the average household income of Chittagong Hill Tracts is 40% less than the national average household income. Approximately 44% people of CHT belong to different ethnic communities and 54% of them live below poverty line.
Historically the issue has a deep and spreading root. When Kaptai dam was built in 1960, approximately 18,000 families lost their land in Kaptai lake. The Kaptai lake keep extending until the rainy season of 1962 and 54,000 acres of cultivable land was submerged in this process. As a result a large number of local residents lost their farming land which was their main source of income. The situation became even worse when the settlers from different part of the country started to come and live in the CHT under a strategic population transfer plan during 1978-1984. Within a decade from 1981, the CHT population increased by 67.95 percent.
In these adverse situations, Monjulika Chakma showed a glimpse of hope towards the betterment of the economic condition of the local inhabitants. She was a young entrepreneur. She started “Bain Textile” a business of indigenous loom. She is now a successful entrepreneur and has three showrooms of “Bain Textile” in Rangamati and one in Cox’s Bazar. She proved that the economic problems of the IPs can be solved by indigenous loom business which is also a huge part of their rich heritage.
Since the indigenous loom can be a realistic solution for the poor economy of CHT, Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) has proposed a workshop and marketing facility for the ethnic population of CHT. However, it is not possible to make workshop for every community since there are many remote places in Rangamati where ethnic communities are residing. So, BSCIC has also proposed storage facilities in the remote areas of Rangamati district.
The site of the loom workshop and market place is located in Manikchori, Rangamati. As Manikchori is situated at the Chittagong-Rangamati Highway and also it is not very far from Rangamati town, this is an ideal place for this project. Moreover, Manikchori is a junction point of Rangamati and Khagrachori district. So, this facility will be able to serve a part of Khagrachori as well as Rangamati.
The main feature of every ethnic community in CHT is that they strictly follow their tradition in every aspect of their lifestyle. For this reason, traditional construction materials of CHT like bamboo, thatch, bamboo fence, wood has been preferred over modern construction materials like concrete or steel in this project. As they are familiar with these materials very well, it will be easier for them to accept this facility as their workplace. Even construction and maintenance of these structures will be pretty easy for them.All the structures are made elevated from the ground to provide proper drainage during heavy rainfall and follow their tradition. Every mass has huge openings since the humidity of Rangamati is very high due to Kaptai Lake. These large openings will keep the inside environment comfortable for the people working in here.
There are basically three types of workshops in the proposed project- (1) Bain workshop (Traditional Indigenous loom), (2) Loom workshop, and (3) Bamboo workshop. Approximately 700 people will be able to work in these workshops. There are total four decks on the lake situated at the west side of the site. Among them one deck is provided for bamboo seasoning, one deck is provided for washing of loom clothes and other two are accessible to people.
At the starting of the site, a large area is kept empty for organizing fair during festivals. It gives a great opportunity for social gathering. At the east side of the fair there is a bazar (market place) and an exhibition facility. The bazar is divided into two parts. One part is dedicated only for BSCIC, where products produced in the workshops of BSCIC will be sold. The other part is for locals, where people from nearby communities will sell their goods. It will work as a platform to sell their home made goods and thus will have an impact on their economic condition. The exhibition will show us the rich tradition of indigenous loom of Rangamati. There will be samples of traditional loom products of the seven ethnic groups which are practicing loom for hundreds of years. Their traditional tools will also be exhibited in the exhibition. I also want to include their rich history of loom practice in this exhibition facility.
There is a multipurpose hall and café behind the fair ground. The café is situated in such a place that it can serve both the people from workshops and the people who have come to visit the fair or multipurpose. Administrative office and a research center is situated next to the multipurpose and café. The center will research on the development of both quality and design of the products. There is also a storage facility behind the research center. Since, this storage facility is situated between the workshops and the research center, it can serve both.
This model can be replicated in other thanas of Rangamati. People will be able to store their home made product in these storage facility. BSCIC can collect these products on weekly or bi-weekly basis and sell it to their customers. Additionally, a medical facility is proposed to minimize the health hazards related to loom production.
Since, a large portion of total population of CHT is the ethnic communities; it is not possible to develop the economic condition of CHT without them. This project aims to create a facility which will alleviate their socio-economic condition while maintaining their tradition. For this reason, this project has space for both social and economic activities.
Reference: Ahmed, K Iftekhar & Kabir, Kh Hasibul ( 2005) A study of traditional housing of “PAHARI” communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), AHDPH, Bangladesh.
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