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12 February, 2017 11:57:32 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 February, 2017 11:59:25 PM
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Strike halts cargo handling at 16 Ctg jetties

STAFF REPORTER, Ctg
Strike halts cargo handling at 16 Ctg jetties

Loading and unloading of goods at 16 jetties (locally know as ghats) in Chittagong and cargo transportation to and from the port city across the country by lighterage ships remained virtually suspended for the second consecutive day, thanks to an indefinite strike, till the time of filing of this report yesterday. 

The strike was called by the Bangladesh Lighterage Shramik Union, demanding implementation of the newly-fixed wage structure for the workers of goods- and oil-carrying lighter ships.
More than 60 lighterage ships were waiting at the 16 ghats on the Karnaphuli and cargo transportation by sea and river routes countrywide was at a standstill. The sources said cargo-handling activities of Chittagong Port, the country’s largest seaport, had been hampered by the strike.
However, the Cargo Vessel Owners’ Association dubbed the movement “illogical and unrealistic”. “This is holding the country to ransom. We assured them that we would pay them the wages as per the revised pay-scale after our elections, but suddenly they called the strike. I hope we will reach a solution on Sunday evening,” said Khurshed Alam, senior vice-president of the Cargo Vessel Owners’ Association.    
Tinku Paul, assistant secretary of the Water Transport Cell—which controls the bookings of lighter ships—said no lighter ship went to the port’s outer anchorage yesterday for loading and unloading cargoes. He said 41 lighter ships took bookings for loading and unloading cargoes at the port’s outer anchorage, but none of the ships went to the area on Sunday. A total of 30 to 35 mother vessels (large ships) was waiting at the outer anchorage for discharging goods like cement clinker, wheat, oil and fertilisers.
Bangladesh Lighterage Shramik Union vice-president Jahangir Alam said they have enforced the strike on Saturday all over the country for an indefinite period. He claimed that the movement of lighter ships throughout the country, including Chittagong, has been halted as a result of their strike. The other organisation, Bangladesh Noujan Shramik Faderation, which called a countrywide strike over the same demand and later suspended it till February 20, said the strike enforced by Bangladesh Lighterage Shramik Union was “unreasonable”, since the owners of lighter ships have already given an assurance to fulfil the workers’ demand.
Bangladesh Noujan Shramik Faderation joint secretary Khorshed Alam claimed that the movement of lighter ships has been halted only in Chittagong because of the strike, but was normal in other parts of the country. 
A meeting was scheduled to be held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on the issue at 6pm on Sunday for a decision on the issue.

 

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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.

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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