After much debate and speculation a team of Rohingyas who took shelter at Ukhiya and Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar, have reached in Bhasan Char on Friday. On this occasion Bhasan Char was decorated with banners and festoons welcoming Rohingyas. Starting from Chattogram in the morning the Rohingya team reached in Bhasan Char in the afternoon boarded on three ships of Bangladesh Navy. The shifting process has begun through sending the Rohingyas who voluntarily wanted to go.
In the first phase 1642 Rohingyas including men, women and children reached in Bhasan Char. According to the local source, there were 810 children, 368 men and 464 women.
A Navy official, not willing to be named, said that medical checkup of all Rohingya people were done in Bhasan Char. Then the Navy officials briefed them. After briefing the Rohingya people were kept in the cluster number 7,8,9 and 10 which were ready for them.
To receive the Rohingya people Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education) of Noakhali Md. Noman Hossain, Additional Police Super Dipak Jyoti Khisa and Hatia Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md. Imran Hossain reached earlier in the island. Members of law enforcement agencies and high ranked officers of Bangladesh Navy were present at that time.
Concerned source said, a temporary transit point was set up at Ukhiya College ground to take the Rohingya people from 34 camps in Ukhiya-Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar. Then they were taken to Chattogram boarded on 20 buses. Rohingyas willing to go in Bhasan Char, were kept in a makeshift camp on BAF Shaheen College ground in Chattogram. They were moved to the ships from Patenga moorage of Navy.
Earlier, representatives of 22 NGOs visited the island in the Bay of Bengal centering the Rohingya shifting activities. 66 tons of food items were stocked there for the Rohingya people.
Hatia Upazila Health Officer Dr. Nazim Uddin said, by this time two 20-bed hospitals have been made ready to ensure health service for the Rohingya people living in Bhasan Char.
Meanwhile, 14 ships of Bangladesh Navy have been made ready to take the Rohingya people in Bhasan Char. For the first two months cooked foods will be supplied to them. After that they will be able to cook food in their own homes.
In the island of Bhasan Char homes were erected keeping all types of facilities. There are special measures to protect people from storm and tidal surge. In September the government took 40 Rohingya leaders including two women to Bhasan Char to inspect the shifting process. They expressed their satisfaction after watching the arrangements. They also inspired others to go to Bhasan Char. Two years ago the government took the decision to shift one lakh Rohingyas in Bhasan Char. But it was not possible due to their unwillingness.
Then the government took active initiatives to send Rohingyas in Bhasan Char after seeing their positive attitude without any force. The government is hopeful that if the first team can be sent to Bhasan Char safely then others will be inspired to go there.
Bhasan Char has been prepared to shelter more than one lakh people by making 120 cluster villages in the 13 thousand acres area of island with expense of two thousand 312 crore taka from the government’s own fund. Currently more than three hundred Rohingyas are residing in Bhasan Char who failed to go to Malaysia.