Bhasanchar now ready for 25,000 Rohingyas
Bhasanchar Island is ready to accommodate at least 25,000 Rohingya people from refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh, says Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury.
"Bhasanchar will be inaugurated by the prime minister. We are ready," said Chowdhury responding to a question at a media briefing on Cyclone Titli at the Secretariat on Thursday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was expected to inaugurate the project on Oct 4 to accommodate Rohingya temporarily on the island. "But she did not inaugurate it due to her time constraint."
The Bangladesh Navy is implementing the project under the Prime Minister's Office at an estimated of Tk 23.12 billion. The project is to be fully completed with the government's own funds by 2019. The project has completed 80 percent of work so far.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council cleared a project for the construction of homes and other infrastructure for 100,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals on Nov 28 last year.
On Aug 25 last year, the Myanmar army launched a crackdown on the Rohingyas, forcing over 700,000 of the ethnic minority to cross the border and take shelter in overcrowded refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.
Bhasanchar is 10,000 acres at high tide and 15,000 acres at low tide. No-one lives on the island, which is mostly used for cattle grazing.
In 2013, the area was declared a forest reserve. Motor boats are the only mode of travel to the river islands.
Earlier this year, Reuters published a report calling the island dangerous for habitation, saying it was prone to bandit attacks, floods and cyclones. A report from the Bangladesh Forests Division last February also called it unsuitable for habitation. -bdnews24.com