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Rohingya relocation to Bhasan Char to start by mid-April

  • Published at 05:53 pm March 3rd, 2019
Web_Bhashan Char
File Photo: The photo, collected from project official Atikul Islam’s Facebook page, shows houses built under a project to accommodate Rohingya refugees in Bhashan Char, Noakhali, Bangladesh Collected

The project, which is scheduled to be completed this year, is being implemented by the Bangladesh Navy

The process to relocate more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees to the Bhasan Char island from camps in Cox’s Bazar will kick off by mid-April, confirms a government minister.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed last week to complete the relocation 23,000 Rohingya families to Bhashan Char by Apr 15,” State Minister for Disaster and Relief Management Md Enamur Rahman said on Sunday.

Also Read- Inside the Bhashan Char plan for Rohingyas

Confirming that the government has completed all preparations in this regard, the minister further said:  “Housing, power, communication, healthcare, storm surge protection, cyclone shelter centres and every other facility is there.”

Asked whether the international community was consulted, Enamur Rahman said: “We had a meeting in this regard at the prime minister’s office and another is scheduled for March 6.”

By the government’s plan, 103,200 Rohingyas out of more than a million currently sheltered in the cramped camps of Cox's Bazar will be moved to Bhashan Char under a project with an estimated cost of over Tk2,312 crore.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed this year, is being implemented by the Bangladesh Navy.

Bhashan Char, also known as Thengar Char, is located 21 nautical miles from Noakhali, 11 nautical miles from Jahajir Char, 4.2 nautical miles from Sandwip, 28 nautical miles from Patenga, and 13.2 nautical miles from Hatia.

Also Read- What do Rohingyas think about Bhashan Char?

The only mode of commute for residents of Bhasan Char, located 30km away from the mainland, will be vessels that take three to three-and-a-half hours to travel from Hatia.

Despite the reservations of both the Rohingyas and the international community, the government is still hopeful that the plan will help manage the massive refugee population in a disciplined manner.

One of the main concerns raised by Rohingyas against Bhasan Char is that they fear the island can be washed away by tidal surges.

The area, declared a forest reserve in 2013, is 10,000 acres at high tide and 15,000 acres at low tide.

No one has ever lived on the island before. It was mostly used for cattle grazing until the construction of shelters for the Rohingyas began.

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