The transportation of goods from Chittagong to all over the country has faced disruption due to strike
As many as 352 vessels carrying around five lakh tons of goods are lying idle in different jetties of the country as water transport workers went for an indefinite countrywide strike yesterday to press home their 11-point demand.
According to sources at the Water Transport Cell (WTC), a total of 352 vessels with 4,94,155 tons of different types of food items and industrial raw materials have remained stranded in different jetties all over the country due to the strike.
Ataul Kabir Ranju, joint secretary of the cell that coordinates movement of 1,000 individually owned lighter ships in Chittagong and nearby areas, has told Dhaka Tribune that the unloading operations was remained suspended due to the work abstention.
"As many as 352 vessels laden with different types of goods such as wheat, soya bean, maize, pulses, clinker, salt and clay are lying idle at different jetties because of the strike," said the WTC official.
The transportation of goods from Chittagong to all over the country has faced disruption due to strike.
The unloading operations from mother vessels anchored at the outer anchorage of Chittagong Port will be at stake if the strike continues further, an official has said.
Businesspeople apprehend that the cost of doing business will go up due to the disruption to unloading the goods.
"The port will face container and vessel congestions and the economy will have to bear the brunt if the deadlock continues," Mahbub Chowdhury, vice president of Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, fears.
Nabi Alam, joint secretary of Bangladesh water Transport Workers' Federation claims they were compelled to go on a nationwide strike Wednesday midnight as their 11-point charter of demands went unheeded.
"A tripartite agreement was signed on September 27 to meet our demands by December 31. Later, we went for work stoppage for a day on April 16 as our demands were not met,” Nabi Alam says.
“Afterwards it was agreed that the demands would be addressed within 45 working days. Another meeting was held on June 27 where it was agreed that the demands would be met by July 15. However, our demands were not fulfilled,” he continues.
The demands include giving Tk1 million compensation to worker who dies on duty, stopping terrorism, extortion in waterways and torture of vessels workers, arresting extortionists, ensuring workers’ social safety, issuing landing pass to India-bound workers, arranging free meal for on-duty workers at ships, endorsement and technical allowances for masters and in-charges, and maritime and night allowance.