Vol. 5 Num 768 Tue. July 25, 2006  

Mohammadpur Geneva Camp
‘People live miserable life’

Around 40 percent of some 230 Urdu-speaking families having seven to 21 members in each family are living roughly in 80 square feet space at Geneva camp in the city's Mohammadpur area, revealed a study yesterday.

Apart from citizenship problems, they are also facing water, sewage and educational problems in the camp, the study added.

The findings of the study on 'Socio-economic problems of Urdu-speaking residents at Mohammadpur' were presented by the Gender and Governance Training Programme (GGTP) of Democracy Watch at the Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) in the city.

The study was conducted on 230 families at the Geneva camp on May this year by the third batch of GGTP.

According to the study, houses at the camps are mainly semi-pucca with one bedroom where an average of 10 members live in a congested environment.

They use kerosene and firewood for cooking as there is no gas in the camp, said Foysal Habib, a participant in the study, while presenting a paper.

Out of a total 170 toilets, most are unusable and there is no toilet in eight and nine blocks, he said, adding, women, children and aged persons use drains due to long distance.

The drains are also clogged with huge garbage which is not cleared by the city corporation, he added.

Though the water supply is adequate, it is often filthy with bad smell, Foysal said quoting the residents for whom

water and sewage are two main problems.

Out of 230 respondents, 10 percent are illiterate, 38 percent have primary education, 27 percent have lower secondary while 11 percent have secondary and higher secondary level education, revealed the study.

High cost of education, crisis of nationality and lack of security hamper their education, he added.

They are however conscious about the health of mother and child and 43 percent of couples use family planning devices, it added.

According to the study people living at eight and nine blocks are still willing to go to Pakistan but the new generation thinks themselves as Bangalees.

Most of the family members are engaged in income generating activities.

The researchers also put some recommendations including providing government assistances in building houses, providing gas facilities and assistance in solving the water and sewerage problems until the citizenship crisis is solved.

Lauding the study, Taleya Rahman, executive director of Democracy Watch, said these types of research are important in changing the traditional impression about the Urdu-speaking people.

Moderated by Dr ASM Atiqur Rahman, professor of social welfare department of Dhaka University, the programme was also addressed by Dr C R Abrar, professor of international relations department of Dhaka University, Taherunnesa Abdullah, project director of Democracy Watch, and Dr Latifa Akhand.