Rohingyas ready to be shifted Bhashan Char ...

Dhaka, Sunday   25 October 2020

Rohingyas ready to be shifted Bhashan Char 

 Staff Correspondent

 Published: 07:24 PM, 18 October 2020   Updated: 07:24 PM, 18 October 2020

File Photo

File Photo

The displaced Rohingya refugees from different Rohingya camps including Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia upazila at Cox’s Bazar  are satisfied at the facilities that are being provided to them in Bhashan Char. The Bhashan Char housing project in Hatia upazila of Noakhali is complete and ready to accommodate 1 lakh Rohingya refugees. 

At the moment, Bhashan Char is a highly secured locality with quality accommodation, hygienic toilet, fresh water, medical facilities, community centers and schools for education.

There are 1440 cluster houses, including 120 shelter stations. The entire area is secured with CCTV coverage. The living areas of female Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMNs) are only accessible to female police and female nurse/medical staffs. Bangladesh Navy and 67 Police personnel (including female police) maintain security of Bhashan Char. All these make the place like a small modern city.

During pick of COVID-19 crisis, Bangladesh rescued 306 FDMNs including more than two hundred women and children on May 7 from the terrible environment of the sea offered a shelter in Bhashan Char. However, the shifting of Rohingya refugees Cox's Bazar camps to Bhashan Char has not started. 

Mohammad Mahbub Alam Talukder, refugee relief and repatriation commissioner (RRRC), sad, " As a team of 40 Rohingyas visited to Bhashan Char island to see the accommodation facilities, we are confident that it may be possible to make a quick decision for them to be shifted here."

It is reported that after inspecting the char earlier the month, the Rohingya delegation had been pleased by the infrastructure and other facilities built there.

Mostafa Kamal, a member of the Rohingya delegation, said, "We visited the char and pleased to see the installations and infrastructures built there. The opportunities of training or practicing economic activities (fishing, cattle farming, agricultural activities and handicraft, etc) are also available there."

According to officials, the Bhashan Char housing project was planned in 2015 for the first time when there were no human habitations. Some 7,40,000 Rohingyas fled a military crackdown in Myanmar in August 2017 and crossed into Bangladesh, where 3,00,000 members of the persecuted Muslim community were already in camps. Then an initiative was taken to implement the housing project in the char. 

Considering the crowd and security situation in the refugee camps in Teknaf and Ukhia, the Prime Minister's Office decided to implement the Ashrayan Project -3 at Vashan Char area expeditiously.  

The construction work started in early 2018 in Bhashan Char, at a cost of Tk 2,312 crore from the government's own funds, infrastructure suitable for one lakh people was built in the char in just one and a half years.      

According to sources, It built 120 cluster villages on the 40 sqkm island and the houses have been built four feet above the ground with concrete blocks. The housing site is protected by a 13 km long flood embankment. There are also 120 cyclone shelters, which will be used as schools, medical centres and community centres. Some of these buildings will be used as the offices and staff of various UN agencies.

These buildings also have modern bathrooms with air-conditioning system. Nevertheless, Bhashan Char is well-protected by high dam, which was demonstrated during the cyclone Amphhan’ with no damage.

A navy official said 120 CCTV cameras were also being installed at the char to ensure security. A light house has already been set up in Bhashan Char, which has been named 'Lighthouse of Hope'.

The sources included that the cost of the project for Bhashan Char was increased by Tk 783 crore to Tk 3,095 crore at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in December last year. The extra money will be spent on raising the height of the dam to 19 feet, increasing the ancillary facilities and building a building and jetty for the UN delegation. Bhashan Char will have all kinds of facilities like electricity through solar panels and generators, water pumps, flood shelters etc. 

"The Rohingyas are ready to go to Bhashan Char, however, they are obstructed by the some terrorist groups," said additional Refugee Rehabilitation and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Md Shamsuddoza.

Meanwhile, the Chattogram Range DIG Mohammad Anwar Hossain has instructed all police members to maintain peace in the Rohingya camps.