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1 September, 2017 12:18:00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 1 September, 2017 09:33:22 AM
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Political hurdle mars govt bid to register vessels

Staff Reporter
Political hurdle mars govt bid to register vessels

Repeated attempts by the Department of Shipping (DoS) to get all speedboats, sand-carriers, bulkheads, trawlers, and fishing boats registered have failed, allegedly due to the interference of some local politicians.

At least 500 speedboats in Mawa and around 1 lakh sand carriers, bulkheads, trawlers, and fishing boats are operating across the c without registration and survey certificates, said DoS sources. As a result, many unwanted incidents are taking place on the waterways, leading to deaths and injuries, sources said.

According to the sources, such illegal vessels are operating with the patronage of some local political persons. Some of them even own these vessels.

The DoS has taken several steps, but in vain, the sources said. They added that around 500 speedboats are operating without any registration and survey certificates by means of alleged underhand dealings with some corrupt DoS officials and local law-enforcers, and local political toughs.

As a result, the government has been losing revenue worth Tk. 400 crore every year as registration fees for 1 lakh bulkheads and Tk. 1.25 crore for 500 speedboats.

According to the sources, at least Tk. 25,000 is needed to register a speedboat and Tk. 40,000 for a bulkhead. This includes survey fees. Besides, every speedboat carrying 12 passengers has to pay Tk. 5,000 annually as the renewal fee, while every bulkhead owner has to pay Tk. 10,000 each year.

“We have requested the local administration to list all unregistered speedboats. We are trying to bring them under the rules and regulations, but they have help from some influential quarters.

We are encouraging them to register their vessels,” the director general of DoS, Commodore Syed Ariful Islam, told The Independent yesterday.

The DoS has taken the issue very seriously, he said. But despite several steps, there has been no development in this regard, he added. However, he said that initiatives have been taken to conduct a countrywide census of small water vessels, including bulkheads.

He also said that his department does not have the adequate manpower to conduct the census of the huge number of unregistered vessels in the country.

Admitting to revenue loss, the DoS chief said, “It’s true. But we need logistic support, including manpower, to expedite our activities.”

“Vessels owners will have to pay the fees. We will fix the fees after discussing the matter with ship owners. The DoS is working in this regard,” he added. According to sources, it is impossible to implement the project without political cooperation at the local level.

They said a section of local politicians backs the owners of the speedboats and other small vessels, creating problems in registering such boats. As a result, around 1 lakh vessels have been operating illegally and without any safety equipment, they added.

According to DoS, 10,593 vessels were registered from 1952 until December 2016. These include 1,183 passenger launches, 2,445 cargo vessels, 4,263 bulkheads, 294 oil tankers, 633 goods carriers, 245 speedboats, and 997 dredgers.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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