Homebound people are being harassed at Sadarghat launch terminal in the city as the porters are allegedly forcing them to pay extra money, though the passengers themselves are carrying their baggage while getting on the launch.
Though the authorities concerned fixed the fee chart for carrying goods at the terminal, the porters are holding the passengers hostage and forcefully collecting extra money from them.If the passengers do not pay additional money, they are harassed in presence of on-duty Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) officials.
In 2010, the government decided to stop the leasing Sadarghat Launch Terminal to end passengers’ harassment and upgrade service.
During the time, BIWTA employed around 100 porters with blue dress for handling passengers’ goods.
The lease holder of the terminal also employed some porters with yellow dress to handle commercial cargoes at the terminal.
BIWTA fixed labor charge for carrying luggage at the terminal. But the chart of labour charge is not being followed by the porters.
According to BIWTA’s rate charts, Tk12 has been fixed for carrying a 10kg baggage, Tk23 for 20 kg, Tk35 for 40kg and Tk58 for 60kg baggage.Tk115 for carrying 100kg bed, Tk23 for chair, Tk58 for TV or refrigerators, Tk29 for motorcycle has been fixed.
However, if passengers carry his own goods, he will not have to pay any labor charges.
Jahangir Alam, who came from Bhola with a 15kg bag, was forced to pay Tk30, though he himself carried the bag.
While visiting the terminal, this correspondent found that lease-holder and porters were charging extra money from the passengers, defying the government chart.
If fees are not paid as per their demand, the passengers fall victim to their misconducts and harassments.
Sharifur Rahman, who came to Dhaka from Hularhat, had to pay Tk 30 for a 20 kg vegetable sack. But he carried his own bag.
Another businessman Sumon said, “The porters waylaid me when I was entering the terminal. After paying their demanded toll, I had to enter the terminal.”
It is learned from reliable sources that the porters both in blue and yellow dresses belong to the lease holders. An influential armed gang is controlling everything from behind the scene.
BIWTA Chairman Commodore Mohammad Mahbubul Islam told daily sun: “We got several complaints in this connection. I called the lease holder after getting complaints. If we receive complaint next time, we will fine the lease holder.”
He seeks cooperation from journalists to stop the harassment of passengers at Sadarghat. It will be possible to take action, if photographs of the dishonest porters are shown.
“If journalists and passengers send photos of the dishonest porters, BIWTA will take disciplinary action against them,” he added.
When asked why the labor rate charts are not displayed at the terminal, he said that it would be hung before the Eid.