Rohingya refugees alight from a naval ship after arriving at Bhashan Char island, in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. (Photo: /AP
Officials in Bangladesh sent a second group of 1,804 Rohingya refugees to an isolated island in the Bay of Bengal on Monday. The six ships carrying them anchored around 1 pm in Bhasan Char on Tuesday. A total of 3,446 Rohingyas were taken to the new camp in two phases, informed Hatia Upazila Executive Officer Emran Hossain.
Earlier, the Rohingyas were taken on six ships of the navy at 8 am on Tuesday. Later, the ship carrying them left Patenga for Bhasanchar around 9:15 am. 428 families who are willing to go voluntarily have been taken there this time.
Rohingyas who wanted to go to Bhasanchar from all the 36 camps beside the main camp started arriving at the transit point last Sunday afternoon. The rest arrived on Monday morning and noon.
From there they were brought to Chittagong by 36 buses. As in the first phase, the buses came to Chittagong in three groups from the Ukhia Degree College ground area. Once again, the RAB, police and law enforcement agencies were on high alert around the buses carrying Rohingyas.
In the first phase, 1,842 Rohingyas were taken to Bhasanchar on December 4. A total of eight ships of the service navy were taken away.
Concerned officials informed that 1 lakh Rohingyas will be taken to Bhasanchar in phases. This group of Rohingyas will be in the state-of-the-art housing project there. In the meantime, food items have been stored in Bhasanchar which can last upto three months.
Mohammad Samshuddauja, additional commissioner of the government’s refugee relief and repatriation office said, “Buffaloes, sheep, ducks, and pigeons are being reared there to carry out economic activities. Different types of vegetables are being planted. Paddy is also being cultivated experimentally. In the project, cluster villages have been constructed with the aim of accommodating 1,01,360 refugees.”
He added, “At a cost of Tk 2,312 crore (1 Bangladeshi Taka equals 0.87 Indian Rupee, the infrastructure of 120 cluster villages has been constructed by the government on the 13,000-acre land and more than one lakh people have been accommodated.”
Earlier, more than 300 Rohingyas who had failed to return to Malaysia were rescued from the sea and taken to Bhasanchar. Then on September 5, a delegation of Rohingyas from the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp was sent to Bhasan Char to visit the place. Upon their return, some of the Rohingyas and expressed interest in going back to Bhasan Char, the official said.