Numerous allegations including widespread corruption and bribe were raised against the Chittagong Port Authority at a public hearing on Tuesday. The port users claimed bribe has become a must for cargo release at several phases.
Participants at the hearing said, the port employees even do not notify about the location of a ship anchored at the port without money. Besides, the employees are behave rudely with the port users.
The Anti-Corruption Commission held the public hearing with complaints received from 52 persons at Shaheed Fazlur Rahman Munshi auditorium in Chattogram.
Mahmudul, a clearing and forwarding agent, said, "We are being overcharged for container loading. Our cargos are loaded only if we pay."
Replying to the allegation made by the port users, Rear Admiral Zulfiqur Aziz, chairman of the Chittagong Port Authority said "You are maligning the system by bribing. Specify your complaint and I will take action immediately. If you face any issue, come to me directly."
At the programme, Asish Kumar Das alleged that the port officials and staffers behave rudely. They misuse their power to harass the port users. Md Tuhin Hossain said the port employees take bribes to inform the whereabouts of a cargo.
Md Shah Alam of AKM Logistics said the equipment operation section of Chattogram port does not move an inch if bribes are not paid.
Ahsanul Haque Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Shipping Agent Association, alleged that some unscrupulous shipping agents exploit the port users as the berthing system is too old. He emphasised the overhauling of the system.
Rear Admiral Zulfiqur Aziz said the capacity of the port has enhanced and it advanced six steps on the latest edition of the Lloyd's List.
"We are introducing a new system. It is now in the pilot phase. The introduction of the new system will resolve many of the issues," said the port chairman.
"We are working on security measures and yard expansion. However, managing the growth in container and cargo handling remains as one of the major challenges. We need the cooperation of the stakeholders," concluded Rear Admiral Aziz.
At the public hearing, ACC Commissioner (Investigation) AFM Aminul Islam said the programme was held to hear the port users' problems. "In many cases, the head of an organisation is not aware of the irregularities. Such hearings make the fight against corruption easier," he added.