As of 12:45pm on Thursday, 21 buses, with police escorts, have set off for Chittagong from Ukhiya College, the transit point
Rohingyas willing to go to Bhashan Char in Noakhali voluntarily are being taken away from the crowded refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.
About 100 Rohingya families have already reached the transit point at Ukhiya College, and more keep pouring in as the day goes on.
A total of 80 buses were assembled at Ukhiya College, ready to transport the Rohingyas to Chittagong - the point from which the Rohingyas will be transported to Bhashan Char. As of 12:45pm on Thursday, 21 buses, with police escorts, have set off for Chittagong, and 10 buses are scheduled to leave for the destination every hour. The first batch of 11 buses left for Chittagong at 11am.
“I used to make a living by fishing in the sea. Now I am going to Bhashan Char from the camp in the hope of a better life. I have sold the old house and belongings to a person next door for Tk8,000,” said Salamat Ullah, a former resident of Shamlapur Rohingya camp in Teknaf, reports Bangla Tribune.
Abul Kashem, head of the Shamlapur Rohingya camp in Teknaf, said five families from his camp had left the camp voluntarily to go to Bhashan Char by Wednesday afternoon. Those involved in the transfer took them by bus to the transit point of Kutupalong in Ukhiya. Several more families are scheduled to be evacuated from his camp on Thursday.
Meanwhile, officials concerned said they have completed all necessary preparations to start the transfer of some 2500 Rohingyas from 350 families to Bhashan Char.
“A group of Rohingyas from the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps is to be relocated to Bhashan Char on Thursday. We have prepared accordingly,” said Noakhali Additional Superintendent of Police (Administration and Crime) Deepak Jyoti Khisa.
Recently, Additional Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the Armed Police Battalion (APBn) Mosharraf Hossain said that a group of Rohingyas would be sent to Bhashan Char on December 3 and 4, and 222 new police personnel have been deployed to provide security during the transfer.
Earlier, Additional Commissioner for Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) Mohammad Samchu Dauja said some Rohingya families had voluntarily agreed to go to Bhashan Char and the process of handing them over was in its final stages.
More than 750,000 Rohingyas took refuge in Bangladesh on August 25, 2016 due to the continuous attacks, oppression and killings by the Myanmar security forces.
The Bangladesh government, with the help of the United Nations and other countries, set up camps in Ukhia and Teknaf in Cox's Bazar to give the refugees shelter in their moment of crisis.
However, the crowded camps no longer seem ideal for various reasons, and the government has taken the initiative to build a shelter camp on the isolated island of Bhashan Char in Noakhali which could accommodate at least 100,000 Rohingyas.
Many Rohingya leaders have already shown interest to move to the new location.