Published On:September 5 2007
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Ships arrival drops at Mongla

Mongla: Mongla Port, the second largest sea port of the country, continues to lose its importance as the number of ships arriving in the port has sharply declined rendering several thousand labourers jobless.

The port has also been facing image crisis due to acute shortage of ships in recent days. Port sources said the government incurred a loss of Tk 4.85 crore in revenue from the port in fiscal 2005-06.

In 1950, Chalna port was established at Chalna and later it was shifted to Mongla, at the confluence of Possur river and renamed as Mongla port on March 8, 1987.

The port areas cover Hiron point of the Bay of Bengal, Roosevelt Jetty and Benapole land port.

According to port sources, ships with only 7 to 8 metre depths can anchor at the port at present.

The port chairman, Ashraf Mohdammad Iqbal, said, a project was taken in 2006 for dredging the Possur channel to make the port operative properly at a cost of Tk 58 crore.

He said, dredging of 13 kms of the river would start soon. ‘After the dredging ships with nine meter depths will be able to anchor at the port’, he added.

A total of 385 local and foreign ships anchored at the port in 2005-06 fiscal year when 12.15 lakh tonnes of goods were imported and 2.68 lakh mts exported.

The revenue earning was Tk 43.55 crore against the expenditure of Tk 48.41 crore, the sources added.

At present, there are some 2,800 employees of various levels working under the Dock Employees Directory Board.

The president of the Mongla Port Employees Association, M Shahjahan Sikari, said many employees spend time doing nothing as few ships anchor at the port nowadays.

Many of them have been passing subhuman life due to unemployment, many have already left their occupation and are looking for alternative work to earn their livelihood, he said.

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