5 years ago

PMO approves fresh allocation for Bhasan Char development

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The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) last week approved the release of Tk 13.11 billion to construct rehabilitation centres at Bhasan Char Island in Noakhali to accommodate 0.1 million Rohingyas, sources said.

The fund is given from the revised Annual Development Programme (ADP) for fiscal year 2017-18, and Bangladesh Navy will develop the island to make it habitable.

From the total released amount, according to a PMO order, the Bangladesh Navy will be able to withdraw in advance Tk 7.67 billion to continue the development work. In the past, some Tk 1.50 billion was withdrawn in favour of Ashrayan-3 project.

The total project cost is estimated at Tk 23.12 billion.

The remote island was dubbed 'non-habitable' by many considering the precariousness of rainy season. The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, termed the relocation move as 'logistically challenging'.

Shelters for around 50,000 Rohingya refugees have already been constructed in the island while rest of the shelters are scheduled to be built within two months.

Officials said the government wants to relocate the Rohingya people by next month as the rainy season is approaching. A large number of Rohingyas are living in temporary shelters in hilly areas and their safety remains in danger because of possible landslide.

Nearly a million Rohingya people, forced to flee Myanmar, are now living in Bangladesh's Ukhia and Teknaf upazila under Cox's Bazar district.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said recently that some special allocation will be kept in the budget for next fiscal year for feeding and rehabilitating Rohingya people. The response from the international community to help Rohingya people was becoming feeble gradually, he said.

Bangladesh and Myanmar have signed a deal on repatriation of the Rohingya people to Rakhine state but the progress has been very insignificant. Two days back Myanmar claimed that it had started repatriation by taking back one Rohingya family, but the government of Bangladesh and the UNHCR have contradicted the claim.

Meanwhile, a World Bank (WB) mission is due in the city early next month to work on the proposed Rohingya Response Preparation Project (RRPP). The mission will prioritise and finalise project design including project components and level of financing, to agree on fiduciary and safeguards assessment, finalise overall project implementation arrangements including fund flow and financial management.

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