Prime minister Sheikh Hasina
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday inaugurated 20 five-storey structures constructed in the first phase of the world’s biggest climate refugee rehabilitation project in Cox’s Bazar through a video conference from her official residence Ganobhaban.

The special structures are built under ‘Khurushkul Ashrayan Project’ at Khurushkul on the outskirts of Cox’s Bazar for 600 climate refugees.

The 600 families are getting their new homes with all modern facilities in 20 structures, each having 32 flats, constructed in the first phase on the bank of the Bakkhali River, just three kilometres off the beach town.

At the inauguration function, some beneficiaries were handed over the keys to the 456 square feet flats.

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All the structures are equipped with a ramp system for people with disabilities, solar panels, safe drinking water, electricity, sanitation, waste management, drainage, cylinder gas and burner.

A total of 4,409 climate refugee families will be rehabilitated at the site as 139 five-storey buildings under the Khurushkul Ashrayan scheme being implemented by Bangladesh Army on 253.59-acres of land spending Tk 1800 crore as part of the Ashrayan Project-2.

Since the Ashrayan (Providing Home) Project was launched in 1997, Khurushkul scheme is the country’s largest rehabilitation project. The Khurushkul project will have four zones — residential, tourism, dry fish processing zone or ‘shutki mahal’ and a buffer precinct with greenery.

Its beneficiaries are mostly the victims of the 1991 devastating cyclone that forced them to take refuge at crammed shanties in Cox’s Bazar airport area for several decades.

The ground floors of the new buildings have been kept vacant so that floodwater and tidal surge can damage nothing. There also tube-wells and rainwater harvesting system.

Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed also spoke at the function moderated by PM’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus.