Navigability shortage hits Baghabari seaport to shut
500 workers become jobless
Fertilizer, fuel supply cut off
S A Khan, Sirajgong: Due to the lack of water at around 10 points of the Baghabari waterway as per the demand, the cargo ship with full load of chemical fertilizers has not arrived at the Baghabari seaport for the last 3 months, so the port has become empty. The situation may continue three more months due the lack of navigability, the locals said Daily Industry yesterday.
Baghabari seaport of Sirajganj Shahjadpur upazila has not been upgraded to first class even in the last 20 years.
The lessees of Baghabari seaport are counting the losses as the authorities do not pay attention. The lessees are largely bankrupt. At various points of Baghabari-Chattagram-Mangla seaport route, Padma, Meghna and Jamuna rivers have water demand of 10/12 feet draft but there is 7 and a half feet draft.
As a result, cargo ships carrying chemical fertilisers, coal, stone, cement and fuel oil from Chittagong and Mangala seaports to Baghabari seaport can’t go to Baghabari seaport with full load. As a result, before Paturia and Nagarbari, half of the cargo is unloaded from the ship through lighterage and unloaded at Nawapara Ghat, Nagarbari and Jessore. Because of this, the Baghabari seaport has become immobile due to empty ships.
On the other hand, fertilizer is brought from Nagarbari, Bara and Jessore’s Nawapara by 10-wheeler or 16-wheeler trucks to the buffer warehouse of Baghabari seaport and then supplied to 16 districts of the northern region. This is causing severe damage to the highway. On the other hand, during the full irrigation season, 14 buffer warehouses in 16 districts of the northern region are not getting adequate supply of fertilizer. As a result, there is a disruption in the supply of chemical fertilizers according to the demand in the current Irri-Boro plantation.
As a result, farmers are fearing artificial shortage of chemical fertilizers in various places of 16 districts of northern region in the current irrigation season.
Meanwhile, around 500 laborers working at Baghabari seaport have lost their jobs due to non-arrival of cargo ships. They are living an extremely inhumane life with their families.
On Monday (April 3rd) morning, Baghabari seaport workers Alim Sardar, Haider Sardar, Alam Sardar, Shaheen Hossain, Omar Farooq and Jahangir Hossain said that even in the last 40 years, Baghabari seaport has not lost a ship in this way.
Cargo ships are not coming to Baghabari seaport due to sinking and shipping crisis. We are living an extremely inhumane life with our families. The wages they get from delivering manure to trucks piled up at 2/1 of the port do not even cover a day’s worth of food. Baghabari port labor agent Abdus Salam said, due to low river water in Mohanganj, Mollar Char, Battery Char, Paturia, Nikli and Daskandi areas, it is not possible to bring full load cargo ships to Baghabari port.
On the other hand, 4 contractor companies for transporting chemical fertilizers to Baghabari seaport are from Kushtia and Nawapara, they are unloading with Nawapara without bringing fertilizer to Baghabari seaport on the pretext of shipping crisis. After that, people are being transported to the northern region by 16-wheeler trucks. As a result, Baghabari harbor has become empty of ships and the port has become inactive. As a result, they have become unemployed as there is no work for the labor. On the other hand, we have suffered huge financial losses due to non-arrival of ships.
Another labor agent of Baghabari seaport, Abul Sarkar, said that we have taken the lease of Baghabari Ghat by paying billions of rupees. About 500 of our laborers have become unemployed due to non-arrival of ships. We are suffering financially. He sought the intervention of higher authority of BIWTA to make this waterway operational.
Baghabari seaport official and BIWTA deputy director Asaduzzaman said that there is no shipping crisis in Baghabari seaport. There is a water draft of 8 to 10 feet. He said, it is a second-class port. As a result, ships with 7 to 8 feet draft are supposed to move in this port channel as per rules. Disregarding the rules and taking a ship of 10/12 feet draft there will be a problem. He also said that efforts are underway to transform this port into a first-class port. Once this is done, this problem will no longer exist.
Harun and Rashid, in charge of the buffer warehouse of Baghabari seaport, said, I am not aware of the non-arrival of ships at Baghabari seaport. It is not under me. Baghabari buffer warehouse under me has stock of fertilizer as per requirement. I only supply fertilizer to Pabna and Sirajganj districts from here.
Shahan Shah, head of the transport contractor company Bulk International and Deshbandhu, located in Baghabari seaport, said that the shipping crisis in Daskandi area of Goaland-Douldia is the highest. Lighterage from here takes Tk 20 to Tk 25 extra per bag of fertilizer to Baghabari port. This caused my company loss. Fertilizer ships do not come to Baghabari to prevent this loss. He also said that we have asked the government to take quick steps to resolve this naval crisis. But it has not been implemented in the last 20 years.
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