Rohingyas in new location to get fish, poultry farming

Rohingya refugees to be shifted to Bhasan Char would have the opportunity of cultivating fish, poultry and livestock farming, official sources said. It is learnt that there are 120 ponds and two large water reservoirs ready for fish culture so that the Rohingyas living there can earn living. Officials described the initiatives as new life for the Rohingyas.

Officials involve with refugee management in Cox’s Bazar are hopeful of starting soon relocating Rohingyas from overcrowded camps of Cox’s Bazar to Bashan Char, an Island of Bay of Bangle under Noakhali, a southern coastal district. Disaster Management and Relief Ministry source said that there will be at least five camps in Bhasan Char, which are under well-managed facilities including education, health and other basic supports. Meanwhile, the government has given posting of required officers to manage refugees in Bhasan Char.

Shah Kamal, Secretary of Disaster Management and Relief Ministry told Bangladesh Post, “It will be a new life for Rohingyas in Bashan Char, who are now living in very miserable conditions in the overcrowded camps. In new neighborhood in the Island Rohingyas will get ponds to fish, enough space for rearing animals.”

“Discussion with aid agencies are underway to relocate the Rohingyas. The Foreign Ministry will brief the UN agencies on the government’s plan, and then the relocation shall begin,” He said. Around one million Rohingya who fled Myanmar are living in the camps at Cox's Bazar, which has caused unprecedented pressure on the area's environment and host communities.

Kazi Muhammad Muzzamel Haq, Additional Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner said, “Many Rohingyas have already expressed interest to be shifted to Bashan Char. Based on this, the authorities have completed all preparations to start the relocation.”

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh government has continued its efforts to send back the Rohingya with pressure from China on Myanmar. But this process can take a long time, Bangladesh believes. That’s why the government is planning to move one hundred thousand of the total about 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar to Bhasan Char, officials say.

The facilities are metal-roofed, brick buildings raised on pylons and fitted with solar panels. There are 1,440 blocks, each housing 16 families in 120 plots. Each family unit has a 12-foot by 14-foot room. Kitchens and bathrooms will be shared. The government has already constructed 12 cyclone shelters on the island. A 13-km flood-defense embankment is also there.

Tanamy Das, Deputy Commissioner of Noakhali said, “Three separate buildings were also build for work, each of the three strayed.” “The 12 Cyclone Shelters has been built for use as a schools, hospitals and mosque. Solar panels fitted for the electricity, the whole Island is covered by mobile phones networks. There is an abundance of ground water. ” He added.

RRRC office source in Coxs Bazar said, processing has been going on to involve the United Nations agencies with Rohingyas relocation in Bashan Char.

Joshep Tripura, A spokesperson of the UN refugee agency - UNHCR in Dhaka office said, “The UN appreciates the Government’s intention to offer alternative locations for refugees to settle, which could help decongest the overcrowded settlements in Cox’s Bazar and reduce pressure on affected host communities.”

The UN has continually renewed its offer to engage constructively in a dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh on the Bhasan Char project, He said, “Following recent developments, including reports that Government officials in the camps have begun identifying refugees for relocation, the UN has again reached out to the Government seeking clarifications on its relocation plan and the next steps in the process.”

“The UN also wants to understand the Government’s planning, particularly as it relates to the critical protection and operational issues that should be considered before any relocations take place. These, as we have previously highlighted,” He added.