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Completed Research by CUS

Demra Bastuhara Camp: Socio-economic Survey of a Squatter Resettlement Area

Nazrul Islam
OXFAM, Bangladesh

The larger cities of Bangladesh used to be characteriesd by the widespread slums and squatter settlements typical of most third world cities, the proliferation of spontaneous settlement known as ‘bustees’ becoming pronounced after the war of liberation with a great influx of poor migrants from rural areas. In January 1975 all squatters in Dacca and Khulna were cleared from the original inner-city locations by Government and squatters of Dhaka were resettled in three planned sites on the outskirts of the city-Demra, Tongi and Mirpur. Many national and international agencies provided assistance and relief to the camp dwellers during relocation and continue to do so. However, before the present study no systematic assessment of the extent to which the people were becoming and communities self-reliant have been made. It was for that reason that OXFAM commissioned CUS to conduct a survey of the socio-economic condition of the inhabitants of the Demra camp where it had provided considerable funds. Thus the major objective of the study is to investigating the demographic, economic, social and physical environmental characteristics with a view to helping the formulation of realistic policies for the future rehabilitation of the population.

From the survey conducted, it has been revealed that almost all the Demra Bastuharas are of rural origin, completely landless and don not have any economic contact with or dependability on rural areas. Most of them even do not have any social contact either. Majority of them have lived in urban areas for quite long, they are no longer rural people. Thus the Demra Bastuharas can neither live in the city nor they have any prospects in the village, Demra seems their ‘permanent home’. It has also been found in the survey that the dwellers also regard the camp to be so. However many of the camp dwellers find it extremely different to make a living from the area and a large percentage depend on Dacca city for employment.

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