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14 September, 2017 12:29:55 AM
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Rohingyas ‘forced’ to pay rent for shelters on govt land

SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS from Ukhiya
Rohingyas ‘forced’ to pay rent for shelters on govt land

With no government or aid agency assistance reaching them, Rohingyas fleeing the current spell of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are erecting makeshift shelters in Balukahli of Cox’s Bazar district.

The helpless Rohingyas alleged that though they were erecting temporary sheds on government land, some local people were collecting toll from them.

Some were even making agreements with them to collect a monthly rent, they alleged.

A visit to Balukhali yesterday morning revealed that the Rohingyas were building makeshift shelters with tarpaulin and bamboos in a haphazard manner.

Locals, too, were found erecting such shelters for the Rohingyas and renting them out.

"A local influential man, Nabi Hossain, took Tk. 500 from us for building a room of 80 sq ft. He also made an agreement with us to ensure that we pay him Tk. 500 every month," said Md Hossain, 62, hailing from Narayangsong of Maungdaw.

"Initially, Nabi fixed Tk. 200 as the monthly rent, but now he is demanding Tk. 500 every month,” he added.

“If we don't give them money, they are vandalising our shelters. They are forcing us to cough out money. How do we pay for these shelters when we are already starving?” said Deen Mohammad, 34, hailing from Fakirapara, in Muangdaw.   In the place fixed by the government for the newly arrived Roihingyas, local resident Md Gafur is allegedly collecting rent from the refugees.

When asked, Gafur claimed he was the owner of the land. “I have allowed Rohingyas to stay at my land on humanitarian grounds,” he said.

Contacted, Khaled Mahmud, head of the Rohingya monitoring cell in Cox’s Bazar and additional district magistrate of Cox’s Bazar, told The Independent: "There is no privately owned land at Balukhali. Here 5,000 acres of land is owned by the forest department."

"If we get any complaint of toll being collected and shelters being rented out on government land, we'll take action against those involved.

But at present, Rohingyas are building makeshift shelters in a disorderly manner. These will be set in order soon,” he added.

Khaled Mahmud also said the Rohingyas were suffering due to lack of sanitation. There are no sanitary facilities and water supply in the places where the Rohingyas are being currently settled, he added.

“The newly arrived Rohingyas have taken shelter in 10 to 12 places in Ukhiya and Cox’s Bazar. They will be brought to one place as soon as possible. We hope to do that within the next 10–15 days,” he said.

MK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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