Even though the revenue collection at Burimari port has increased considerably over the last decade, services and facilities have hardly seen any improvement
Prolonged load-shedding, poor internet connections, and other difficulties are causing tremendous sufferings to daily users, as well as employees, of Burimari land port in Lalmonirhat.
Even though the revenue collection at Burimari port has increased considerably over the last decade, services and facilities have hardly seen any improvement.
According to port officials and traders, chronic load-shedding is the No 1 problem of the port, followed by troubled internet connections, accommodation shortage for officials and employees, lack of communication system for smooth transportation of goods.
According to sources, Burimari port started off its activities as a full-fledged land port in 2010. Currently, it is the second largest land port in the northern regions, and third in Bangladesh. However, the port remains without power for 12 to 20 hours a day. In case of adverse weather, the situation worsens further.
All the import and export activities of Burimari port are conducted through international software CODA. However, traders must wait in line for a prolonged period as the system cannot function without electricity. Despite the persistent power problem, the concerned authorities in the government has not taken any steps to resolve the issue.
During an inspection in October 5, 2016, the then National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Nazibur Rahman attended a view-exchange meeting with local traders, and employees. No steps have been taken despite his strong assurance of resolving the issue.
Abdus Salam, assistant commissioner of Burimari port Customs, said: "Regardless of all the difficulties, the port managed to collect Tk15.55 crore revenue against Tk6.5 crore target in the first three months of 2019-20 fiscal year. In the last fiscal, the port collected Tk68.56 crore against a Tk50 crore target. We believe, the revenue collection could be doubled if the electricity, and other issues are solved."
Sayeduzzaman Sayeed, member of C&F Convener Committee of the port, said: "Big traders avoid using this port due to its unbearable load-shedding situation. Moreover, communication system of the port is not so good either, The situation has gotten so much worse that even employees of the port have become tired, and thus cannot work effortlessly. We demand immediate solution to the electricity problem."
Burimari union Awami League Convener, also a C&F agent, Tahazul Islam Mithu said: "Local lawmaker Motahar Hossain is trying to resolve the issue. However, the power department is not doing its job, and people in this area are not happy about it."
Importer Shamim Hossain said: "It's an old problem of Burimari that seems to be unsolvable. I think Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's intervention is necessary now."
When asked, Habibur Rahman, Bangladesh Land Port Authority member (development), and joint-secretary, said: "The implementation of developmental projects regarding Benapole, and Burimari land ports are underway, which will improve the import and export of goods by land routes significantly. We have installed generator at the ports to resolve the power crisis but it is not enough. The government is discussing ways to solve the issue permanently."
When asked, Lieutenant (Rtd) Motahar Hossain, freedom fighter and lawmaker from Lalmonirhat-1 constituency, said: "I have highlighted the electricity issue in parliament, and even the prime minister had also been informed. However, we are not seeing any quick solution to the problem."