Chittagong Port resumes again

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Operations in the country’s main seaport here resumed in full scale today hours after army troops were called out to maintain order as the past six days of workers strike exposed the crucial garments shipment to uncertainty, officials said.

“Berthing operation in 12 jetties of the port resumed this evening after nearly three days lapse,” a port official told BSS.

The port resumed operations as the government today deployed the army in aid of the civil administration responding to a request by the Port Authority on the sixth day of the dock workers strike while the law enforcement authorities enforced section 144 banning assemblies or protest rallies in the port area.

“There was no alternative to deployment of army and enforcement of the 144 to save the port when a vested quarter is trying to make it dysfunctional,” shipping minister Shahjahan Khan told a press briefing at the port city.

He added: “The vested quarters are trying to fish in troubled waters . . . but the government is committed to keep the operations of the port uninterrupted”.

Officials and witnesses said immediately after the government decision, two army companies reached the port in the afternoon while police detained 27 striking workers who tried to stage violent protests hurling stones on policemen on duty outside the port defying the section 144.

The decision to deploy army was taken at a meeting between the shipping minister and the main dockworkers union, who alleged that the rival factions were enforcing the siege defying the main body of the workers.

There has been a long-standing row between berth operators and dockworkers over a number of issues, including recruitment of workers of the newly hired six berth operating firms, and issuance of identity cards for the workers.

The activities in all six general jetties along with six container jetties of the port came to a halt since Monday afternoon.

The port authorities appointed six private berth operators through a tender on October 7 and the organisations could not start their work due to workers protest.

Bangladesh Garment Manufaturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in statement today thanked the government for the troops deployment to free the port from those who wanted to make the port dysfunctional.

They urged the government to keep the troops deployed so the port operations were not suspended even for an hour.

“The garments industry as well as the national economy do not have the capacity to bear the consequences if the port witnesses stalemate again,” the statement read.


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Dipa Dola

I am studying in journalism. I want to be a good journalist in future. I like it and I am passionate about this.

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