The administrator for the district under which Bhashan char falls Mohammed Khorshed Alam Khan told AFP that the Bhashan Char has better facilities than the overcrowded camps of Cox’s Bazar which house more than 7 lakh Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar in 2017 after the military crackdown in the Rakhine province.
More than 300 Rohingya refugees were sent to the Bhashan Char in April after they were rescued off boats in which they were trying to flee the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp of Bangladesh. Bangladeshi authorities had said that the Rohingya refugees were being sent to Bhashan char in view of the Corona pandemic in the country.
Bhashan char is an uninhabited island where the government of Bangladesh has made shelter houses for one lakh Rohingya refugees at an estimated cost of Tk. 2,300 crore. However, environmentalists say that the Bhashan Char falls in an ecologically fragile area prone to floods, erosion and cyclones. The issue of forced relocation and lack of mobility on the island has also been raised by organisations working among the Rohingyas.
The plan of relocating Rohingya refugees on Bhashan Char has run into opposition from many relief and rehabilitation organisations and UN agencies after the government announced its plan to settle the refugees on the island.