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Tk 2,312.15cr project cleared for sheltering Rohingyas at Bhasan Char
The Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved a Tk 2,312.15 crore project for giving temporary shelter to Rohingyas at Bhasan Char in Hatia upazila of Noakhali district.
The Ecnec in its regular meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair approved the project titled ‘Ashrayan-3 Construction of necessary infrastructure for the housing of 100,000 displaced Myanmar citizens, and construction of island infrastructure at Bhasan Char of Char Ishwar Union under Hatia upazila of Noakhali district.
This fast-track project will provide shelter to 103,200 Rohingya people.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said 14 projects including ‘Ashrayan 3’ were approved by Ecnec at a cost of Tk 10,099. 28 crore of which Bangladesh will provide Tk 10, 048 crore while the rest will come as project assistance.
About the project for Rohingya, he said it will be implemented by Bangladesh Navy between December 2017 and November 2019 to shelter the Rohingyas.
Kamal said there has already been an agreement with Myanmar to send Rohingya back.
“Today, Rohingyas are living in inhumane conditions under the open sky. In this situation, the project has been taken to protect them," he said.
According to the project, the location of Bhasan Char in Char Ishwar union of Noakhali district is 21 nautical miles away from Noakhali town.
Through this project, basically the land development and coastal security activities of Bhasan Char will be conducted. To accommodate more than 100,000 people, some 1440 barrack houses and 120 shelters in 120 clusters of villages will be constructed.
After their repatriation, the project will be used to accommodate the poor people of Bangladesh, said Mustafa Kamal.
Besides, there will be construction of sanctuary, Navy office and residence for safety, internal roads, water extraction infrastructure, tube-wells and water supply infrastructure and watchtowers.
There will also be helipad, boat landing site, mobile towers, radar station, CCTVs, solar panels and power sub-station.
In the last few years, the government has planned to remove the refugee camps of Cox's Bazar and move around 400,000 Rohingyas out of it due to social problems. It also planned to shift them to Noakhali Island Upazila near Hatia on the Birna Island of Birna Island in Meghna.
The island was originally used as a cow-buffalo pasture. In 2013, this char was declared forest reserve area. There is no scope to travel without the engine boat. It takes three to three and half hours to go to Hatiya.
Responding to a question, the minister said the government has also talked to the donors about this project. The government will welcome them if they come forward.
"The government has taken the initiative to provide humanitarian assistance with maximum capacity," he added.
The minister said the Rohingyas are in a distressed condition and the government has started taking steps for mitigating their sufferings. "I’m hopeful that other countries come forward with assistance," the minister said.
He said the Prime Minister instructed to repair all the roads affected in the floods within the next one year. All the old roads will have to be repaired now instead of constructing new ones, Kamal added.
The other approved projects are development of power distribution system in Mymensingh (Tk 1,575.47 crore), development of rural infrastructures for Madaripur, Sariatpur and Rajbari districts (Tk 1,560.15 crore), development of important rural infrastructure (2nd phase) (Tk 950 crore), development of important rural infrastructure for Sirajganj district (Tk 446.20 crore), development of small irrigation systems in Noakhali, Feni and Laxmipur (Tk 143.71 crore), construction of multistory residential flats in Azimpur government colony for government officials-employees (Tk 990.23 crore), construction of 288 residential flats in Jigatala for government officials-employees (Tk 303.84 crore), construction of multistory residential buildings in Motijheel government colony (Tk 257.22 crore), construction of railway overpass at Shasangachha in Comilla town (Tk 94.06 crore), development of Langarpara-Shreebordi road in Sherpur (Tk 82.34 crore), stipend project for higher secondary education (797.75 crore) and construction of Chittagong Muslim Institute Cultural Complex (Tk 232.52 crore).