POST TIME: 20 October, 2019 12:00:55 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 October, 2019 06:28:11 PM
Relocation of Rohingyas to Bhashan Char ‘next month’

Relocation of Rohingyas to Bhashan Char ‘next month’

Rohingyas will be relocated to the Bhashan Char from early next month following the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina there next month (November). The authorities concerned, in cooperation with the Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), have started preparing a list of the Rohingya families for relocation at the Bhashan Char, previously known as Thengar Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal, sources in the disaster management and the RRRC office have said.

Currently, a number of officials of the home affairs ministry, disaster management ministry, and the foreign affairs ministry are visiting the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and holding meetings with stakeholders for shifting the Rohingyas to the Bhashan Char. Talking to The Independent, RRRC Md Mahbub Alam Talukder said they are preparing the list of the Rohingya families for their relocation at the Bhashan Char from Cox’s Bazar camps in November. “We will shift the Rohingyas in phases,” he added.

Md Shah Kamal, senior secretary of the disaster management and relief ministry, told this correspondent that they have already taken consent from some Rohingya families and are preparing a list of those who will be shifted to the Bhashan Char next month. “It will be possible to shift as many as 100,000 Rohingyas in the char gradually and ensure their complete security,” he said.

“The Rohingyas have been facing various problems, including the threat of natural calamities. But they will be better in the Bhashan Char,” he added.

Sources have said the Bangladesh Navy has already built a total of 1,440 barracks and 120 central shelters to accommodate the Rohingyas in 120 village clusters.

A senior officer of the Bangladesh Navy said they have built 16 one-storey buildings to accommodate 16 families. “Water, sanitation, hospitals, markets, roads, dams, playing fields, ponds, water extraction infrastructure, tube wells, water supply infrastructure and watch towers have already been built at the Bhashan Char as ‘temporary rehabilitation centre’ for the Rohingyas,” he added.

“It's possible to accommodate 102,000 Rohingyas in 120 cluster villages, built by Navy personnel, under the project of ‘Asrayan-3  (construction of residences and necessary security infrastructure for housing forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in Noakhali’s Hatia),” he noted.

When contacted, Chittagong divisional commissioner Md Abdul Mannan told this correspondent that the authorities concerned, especially the Bangladesh Navy, have prepared the Bhashan Char for rehabilitation of at least one lakh Rohingyas. “It’d be a better place for the Rohingyas, as all types of facilities, including power, communication, healthcare, storm surge protection, and cyclone shelter centres, have been ensured,” he said.

Bhashan Char is located in the estuary of the Meghna river. It takes about 90 minutes to reach the Hatiya Island from Noakhali on the mainland. From there, a speedboat takes 30 minutes to get to the Bhashan Char.

On November 28, 2017, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved the Tk. 23.12-billion ‘Asrayan-3 project to accommodate 1,00,000 Rohingyas. The Bangladesh Navy has implemented the project.