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19 September, 2018 12:29:13 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 September, 2018 12:46:59 PM
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Rohingya shifting to Bhashan Char from next month

DEEPAK ACHARJEE
Rohingya shifting to Bhashan Char from next month

From next month, Bhashan Char, previously known as Thengar Char, located on the Hatiya Island in the Bay of Bengal, is going to be the temporary home of‘ Rohingya’ refugees from Myanmar. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to visit Bhashan Char on October 3 to begin the handing over of ‘cluster houses’ to some of the Rohingya families.

Already, the Bangladesh Navy has built a total of 1,440 barrack houses and 120 central shelters to accommodate the Rohingyas in 120 village clusters. Talking to The Independent, a senior officer of the Bangladesh Navy said they had built one-storied buildings with 16 units to accommodate 16 Rohingya families.

“Water sanitation, hospital, bazaar, roads, dam, playing field, ponds, water extraction infrastructure, tube wells, water supply infrastructure and watch towers have already been built in the Bhashan Char to house the Rohingya people at this ‘temporary rehabilitation centre’ here,” he said.

“It is possible to accommodate 1,02,000 Rohingyas in the 120 cluster villages, constructed by the navy personnel under the project: ‘Asrayan-3 (which includes the construction of living quarters and security infrastructure to house the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in Noakhali’s Hatia),” he added.

Commissioner of Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) Mohammad Abul Kalam told The Independent that they would like to shift at least 60 Rohingya families to the Bhashan Char from the camps in Cox’s Bazar on October 3. “It will be possible to shift 100,000 Rohingyas in the char gradually,” he said. Kalam said they had prepared a documentary on the Bhachan Char and the types of facilities that would be provided to the refugees after shifting them to dispel any fear about moving to the new location.

The RRRC commissioner treated the Rohingyas as ‘International Custodians’ and hoped that they would agree to shift to the new place, as the authorities have already built the needed infrastructures and facilities in the Char. “The government has a plan to develop another 13,500 acres of the char for rehabilitation of other Rohingyas, staying in Cox’s Bazar, but that would depend on the success of the Asrayan-3 project,” Abul Kalam added.

When contacted, Commissioner of the Chittagong Division Md Abdul Mannan told this correspondent that the authorities, especially the Bangladesh Navy, were preparing the Bhashan Char to rehabilitee the Rohingyas there. “But, the local people, living on the Hatiya Island and along the coastal belt of Noakhali fear the Rohingyas may engage in various criminal and anti-social activities in and around the Island after they are brought in. During the visit on October 3, the PM will assure the locals that no such incident will take place, as adequate security arrangement have been made,” he said.

Bhashan Char is located in the estuary of the Meghna river. It takes about 90 minutes to reach Hatiya Island from Noakhali on the mainland, from where a speedboat takes another 30 minutes to get to Bhashan. On November 28, 2017, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved the ‘Asrayan-3 project involving an outlay of about Tk 2,300 crore to accommodate 1,00,000 Rohingyas.

The Bangladesh Navy is implementing the project which is likely to be completed by 2019.

At present, over 11 lakh Rohingyas including some 7,00,000 who fled from Rakhaine state of Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 25 last year after a military crackdown are staying in camps at Cox’s Bazar. The United Nations, the US and other countries have termed the military action as "ethnic cleansing".

SR

 

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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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