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17 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Water transport workers on strike

Loading, unloading hampered at Mongla, Ctg ports
UNB, Dhaka
Water transport workers on strike
Failing to get onboard any launch because of the ongoing countrywide strike by water transport workers, two female passengers struggle to carry their bags as they return from Sadarghat Launch Terminal in the capital yesterday. Focus Bangla Photo

Water transport workers began countrywide indefinite strike early yesterday to press home their 11-point demand, causing huge sufferings to passengers. The workers under the banner of Bangladesh Water Transport Workers' Federation declared the strike as a meeting with the Shipping Ministry held on Monday night went fruitless, said Shah Alam Bhuiyan, president of the federation.

Following the strike, the workers suspended plying off all types of passenger and goods-laden vessels from Sadarghat, Khulna and Monga ports from 12:01am. The demands include taking action against terrorism and extortion, stopping of workers' harassment, full implementation of pay scale 2016, providing Tk 10lakh compensation for any injury of a worker and cracking down robbery on the river routes.

Following the strike, no launches left Sadarghat terminal in the morning. Workers at Khulna and Mongla ports also suspended plying of all water transports including good carriers since the midnight, said Delwar Hossain, general secretary of the federation's Khulna zone. The workers also kept suspended loading and unloading of goods at the ports.

In Chottogram, the loading and unloading of goods through lighter vessels at 16 ghats of the Karnaphuli remained suspended following the strike, adds our Staff Reporter from Chattogram.

At the same time, the unloading of goods from mother vessels anchored at the outer anchorage of Chattogram was disrupted as no lighter vessels could move for unloading goods.  According to the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA), 42 mother vessels were waiting at the outer anchorage for unloading goods till the time of filing of this report yesterday (Tuesday) at 6pm. Of these, 11 were mother vessels—along with general cargo vessels, four mother vessels with food-grains, 22 with cement clinkers, two with sugar and one with salt, and two oil tankers.

The Water Transport Cell (WTC) said some 50 lighter vessels, after loading goods from mother vessels, could not leave the outer anchorage at the same time as 26 more lighter vessels could not join at the fleet of unloading goods from mother vessels in the outer anchorage. CPA traffic director Enamul Karim said, “After unloading goods from the mother vessels, no light vessel could leave for its destination. Though there was no major impact of the strike today, if the strike continues, it will hamper port activity.”

However, importers said because of the strike they have to count demurrage charges, and there will be congestion of vessels in the port, adding that the overall impact will be dwindling business.

On the other hand, over 180 lighter vessels were waiting to unload goods at 16 ghats of the Karnaphuli.

Ataul Kabir Talukder Ranju, the WTC’s deputy secretary (operations), said, “Our 1,200 lighter vessels have almost remained idle across the country following the strike.” Till the time of filing of the report yesterday (Tuesday) at 6pm, a meeting was going on in the capital between transport worker leaders and finance minister AHM Mostafa Kamal, said Syed Shahadat Hosssain, general secretary of the Bangladesh Lighter Vessels’ Sramik Union. “We have called an indefinite strike. If we cannot reach a solution, the strike will continue,” he added. The workers have an 11-point charter of demands.

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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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