Tussle between BICDA & shipping agents
A tussle over the increase of charges by the Inland Container Depots Association arisen in the port city led to suspension of handling of import and export cargos immediately.
Chittagong Port sources said after arising of the charge increase issue by Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA) , Chittagong Port Authority constituted a committee to find out the solution earlier and committee recommended for increase of charge by 20% over the existing ground rent charges. Though the shipping agents, owners did not sign this agreement so made by the committee with certain controversies.
BICD sources said Shipping Agents agreed the increase of charges whereas they did not sign the agreement to this affect saying BICDA are realizing excess depot charges and in this connection a letter alleging BICDA sent to CPA.
Following the arising controversies, BICDA sent a letter to Director(Traffic) of CPA saying that if the shipping agents not follow the recommendations of the committee with 20% charge increase, the services of the private ICDs will be suspended from April 1 next . Meanwhile Shpping Agents Association determined not to pay additional charges than existing . Conscious port users and the beneficiaries fear about the suspension of import and export through Chittagong Port .
BICDA President Nurul Kaiyum Khan told The New Nation that the present realizing ground rent charges is 41% less than their demands but considering the both sides, CPA committee recommended 20% additional charge . He said the recommendations of the committee was agreed by both parties . He further mentioned that in that meeting of opinions over increased charge, besides committee members representatives of CPA, Chittagong Chamber, Shipping Agents, BGMEA, BKMEA, C&F Agents Association were present and agreeing the recommendations, shipping agents signed the recommendations on that time.
Senior Vice Chairman of Shipping Agents Assocn Ahsanul Hoque told that the matter of increasing the rent charges by 20% is not clear for which this controversies created. He said BICDA earlier in 2011 fixed ground rent charge Tk.110 as ground rent charge of each TEUs container per day but the shipping agents did not agree to their decisions and hence BICDA refixed Tk.55 later on which is still continuing. Ahsanul Hoque said present rent tariff , the increase charge should be realized not over the proposed rent of 2011. Shipping agents sources said BICDA trying to realize excess rent charge with threat of suspending the ICD activities but SAA will not shift their decisions.
Secretary of BICDA Ruhul Amin Sikder to The New Nation that after 2011, the overall expenditures of cargo handlings, transportations, manpower etc increased to two to three times more but BICDA is realizing 41.8% less than the costing price . He further told that CPA is realizing Tk.480/-( 6 US dollar ) per TEU containers per day using the govt land (ground) whereas private ICD using private land on hire or purchased with high price deploying huge manpower . He said Tk.110 rent charge per day of each container was justified and the recommendations of the CPA led committee should be implemented over proposed rate of 2011.
Sources said if the SAA not sign the agreement admitting 20% increase , they will suspend the ICD services of 5 types viz. Staffing of export containers, transpiration of imported containers from Port to ICDs , transpiration of empty containers, consignee return container and delivery of container from port to importers. Director (Traffic) of CPA Golam Sarwar said the ground rate so realising not major matter but 20% increased on official rate , it is reality he added.
Reliable Port Users Forum sources said over the increase of rent charges of container, a meeting was held duly attended by chamber leaders, shipping agents, C&F, BGMEA except BICDA President on January 17 last but ended without any conclusion. Again on January 19 last, CPA chairman convened a meeting over the issue with the stakeholders where 11-members committee formed headed by Member(Habour)of CPA Commodore Shahin Rahman .
Sources said the committee reviewed the overall expenditures of container handlings and storing for the period from 2010 to 2015 . As per available papers of CPA engineering and accounts departments, expenditures increased in yard building & maintenance by 18%, fuel cost increased 47.53%, wages increased 60%, capital cost 6% and others 30% . After reviewing , it was found that on average costing of ICDs increased by 41.80 % . After considering the overall maintenance costs and others, the committee recommended ground rent and handling charges rate increased by 20% on loaded containers and 9% on empty containers. This recommendations of the CPA-led committee handed over to BICDA President on March 10 last, sources said.
Independence Day celebrated
The 46th Independence and National Day was observed in the port city as elsewhere in the district with renewed pledges to take the country forward in line with the spirit of Independence.
Besides government programmes, different political parties, their associate organizations, educational institutions, professional and trade bodies and socio-cultural organizations observed the day through daylong programmes. The day’s programmes were heralded with a 21-gun salute from atop the court building at 12.01 am which was followed by playing of whistles simultaneously from rails, steamers and vessels of the port.
Placing of wreaths at Shaheed Minar at zero hours, hoisting national flag, holding discussion meetings, lighting of candle in memory of the 25th March crackdown, playing of recorded historic speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the 7th March, bringing out processions, cultural functions, march pasts and physical displays, and reception to Freedom Fighters are the highlights of the day’s programmes. State Minister for land Saifuzzaman Chowdhury Jabed was the first to place a wreath at Shaheed Minar.
Chittagong city Mayor A JM Nasir Uddin placed a wreath at Shaheed Minar on behalf of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) after Jabed.
Immediately after the CCC, Chittagong City Awami League (AL) led by its President and former city mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury and General Secretary AJM Nasir Uddin, Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong Ruhul Amain, Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) Additional Commissioners AKM Shahidur Rahman and Debdas Bhartacharzee, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Chittagong range, Shafiqul Islam, Deputy Commissioner, Chittagong Mejbah Uddin Ahmed, Superintendent of Chittagong District Police AKM Hafiz Akter, Chittagong Muktijoddah Sangsad, Administrator of Chittagong Jilla Pariad M A Salam and Chairman of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) Abdus Salam, President of Chittagong North district AL Nurul Alam Chowdhury and GS MA Salam, Chittagong south district unit BNP, Jatiya Party, Workers Party, LDP, Chittagong Press Club, Chittagong Union of Journalists and different socio-cultural organizations and individuals placed wreaths at Shaheed Minar.
Vice-Chancellor of Chittagong University (CU) Prof Anwarul Azim Arif along with teachers, officers and employees of CU placed wreaths at CU central Shaheed Minar this morning.
The district administration chalked out an elaborate programme to observe the day which included placing wreaths at Shaheed Minar, hoisting national flag, arranging special prayers at mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship seeking peace and progress of the country, screening of Liberation War-based films for children, reception to the family members of the martyrs and freedom fighters at M A Aziz Stadium, friendly football match, cultural function at Shilpakala Academy and illumination of important buildings, roads and road islands.
The day’s main programme was an attractive march past and physical display at M A Aziz Stadium with the participation of police, Ansar, VDP personnel and also from Fire Service, BNCC, Girl Guide, Scouts and children and juveniles from different educational institutions.
2 boys killed in road mishap
Two teenage boys were killed and a woman was injured in a road accident in city’s Bahaddar Pukurparh area under Chandgaon thana in the early hours of yesterday.
One of the boys was identified as Mohammad Abdullah-Al-Mannan, 16, but the identity of other aged around 14 could not be known immediately.A case filed with Chandgaon thana in this connection.
Indefinite strike in Southern Medical College enforced
The indefinite work shut down enforced in a private medical college hospital in the port city from yesterday.
Following the shut down , all services in outdoor, indoor patients remained suspended yesterday caused severe sufferings to the outdoor and indoor patients. All academic classes and examinations remain suspended yesterday..The doctors and other employees of hospital enforced pendown strike for two hours demanding the increase of pay and allowance from last week .
The students sources said until their demands are fulfilled, the work shut down for 2 hours from 10 am to 12 noon upto Saturday and indefinite strike will be enforced from Sunday.
Bangaldesh Medical Association leader Dr Hossain Ahmed told that they placed their demands 2 years before but the management yet to fulfill their demands despite several sittings with the management.
Mentionable that the salary and allowance of southern Medical College and Hospital is more less than the other private medical colleges of USTC, Maa-o-Shishu Hospital, BGT Medical Hospital of the port city.
A agitated striking teachers told that there are about 100 physicians in Southern Medical college Hospsital including intern doctors and their pay and allowances are comparatively low. A intern doctor told this reporter that 11th batch of MBBS course is running in the college and there are gyney, surgery, ENT, Eye, Pathology, Forensic and Outdoor department.