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2 lakh poor locals, 5 lakh old Rohingyas lead miserable life in Cox’s Bazar

Published : Tuesday, 14 November, 2017 at 12:00 AM Count : 105

COX'S BAZAR, Nov 13: Two lakh poor local people and five lakh old Rohingayas are unemployed in Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas of the district.
The poor locals have no income as there is no work. The old Rohingyas are out of relief assistance as they are not registered; they cannot come out of camp for the last two months as they have no identity cards.
Besides, the income-oriented work opportunities for the locals have been reduced due to the Rohingya influx. The labour cost has also decreased.
As a result, seven lakh people of the two upazilas have been leading a miserable life. The authority concerned does not have any plan to reduce their unemployment problem. But the local representatives demanded immediate creation of employment opportunities for the unemployed locals.
After a recent spot visit, this correspondent found that the total population of Ukhia and Teknaf is 5 lakh 50 thousand. Among them, two lakhs belong to lower-income group. Their main profession is cultivation, carpeting, and day-labouring. On the other hand, the Rohingyas who fled from Myanmar also live in the two upazilas.
According to the unofficial statistics, the number of Rohigya is 15 lakh, Among them, the number of old Rohingya is 5 lakh 50,000.
But 32,000 Rohigyas has been registered as refugees in Kutupalang of Ukhia and Leda registered Refugee Camp of Teknaf. Among them 14,000 live in Kutupalang of Ukhia and 18,000 live in Leda Camp.
Kutupalang Camp sources said the Rohingyas who entered Bangladesh till October 9, 2016 are not brought under the registration. Those who came from August 25, 2017, are being registered in seven registration booths in Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Zakir, 50, an old Rohingya of Kutupalang Makeshift Camp-5, said he came to Bangladesh along with the seven members of his family from the Fakira Bazaar of Buchidang, Myanmar five years ago. Since then they have been staying at Block-D, of Kutupalang registered Camp. He earned his family livelihood by working as a day-labourer in Chakoria, Lohagara, Satkania, Anowara, and Banshkhali upazilas. Now their working opportunites have been shut down due to the new Rohingya influx from August 25. The security has been beefed up in the areas. They do not get relief as they were not registered. So their earning source has fallen down.
"The authority is not allowing us to do any work nor give us relief; the law-enforcing agencies are not allowing us to go out as we have no registration cards. So we are passing a miserable life with our family," Zakir also said.
This is not only the request of Zakir, but also Sultan Ahmed, Mohammad Hossain, Mohammad Islam, Mohammad Zubair and 50 other Rohingyas saying the same words. Many of them said now their main income is to cut trees from deep forest areas and sell those as fire wood. By selling the fire wood, they earn 200 to 300 taka, but the number of the lumberjack is very few.
Rezaul Karim, in-charge of Kutupalang Camp, said government rules for the old Rohingyas are not yet finalised. After some days, they will be brought under registration and relief.
"We know that they are in very much need, but we are helpless to do anything disobeying the rules." the In-charge said.
Besides, the working opportunities of the locals have been reduced due to the Rohingya influx. The labour cost has also been reduced for the Rohingyas.
Nabi Hossain, a resident of Kotbazar, said 'We used to perform different types of works; now the number of people has increased but the work opportunities decreased".
Local Palangkhali UP Chairman Gafur Chowdhury said 'Local day-labourers are not getting the opportunities what they used to get earlier. Rohingyas are doing the work at cheap rate. So many locals have been leading miserable life for want of money.
The government should take immediate necessary steps for the needy people, he added.

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