Local boatmen are also reportedly following suit by overcharging tourists wanting to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Dhalai River by a boat ride
The Shada Pathar tourist spot, located in the Bholaganj area of Sylhet's Companiganj upazila, is reportedly taken over by a syndicate, causing major inconvenience to tourists, day after day, taking advantage of the site’s increasingly growing demand.
These unethical businessmen are overcharging tourists for various services including car parking, boat fare, food, and bathroom. However, the authorities concerned continues to turn a blind eye in this regard, and no visible action have yet been taken against them to curb their nefarious activities.
A Sylhet-based business firm named Maa Enterprise, which took the lease for the car parking at Shada Pathar from the district administration, are also controlling the two eateries, where customers are charged exorbitantly.
Local boatmen are also reportedly following suit by overcharging tourists wanting to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Dhalai River by a boat ride.
Numerous tourists come here with a desire to admire the captivating beauty, and to be mesmerized by the hilly landscapes, white fluffy clouds, and the Dhalai River’s crystal clear water streaming between heaps of white stones.
However, several tourists, after visiting the spot recently, shared their terrible experiences with our correspondent.
Kawsar Chowdhury, from Amborkhana, said tourists had to urinate in public, as the only washroom built by the authority was kept under lock and key.
"It is ruining the beautiful environment of the Shada Pathar. There aren’t any designated washrooms for female tourists, nor any changing rooms," he said.
The visitor also expressed his resentment on the excessive prices of food.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Faruq Ahmed, a college teacher, said tourists are forced to pay Tk70-80 to use the parking lot, which was supposed to be Tk10.
Many others have also alleged that tourists are overcharged for boat rides on the Dhalai River.
Refuting the allegations, Md Shahid Talukdar, proprietor of Maa Enterprise, said: "We're charging the tourists for car parking, and food according to the prices set by the authorities.
He, nevertheless, admitted that some local boatmen do overcharge tourists.
Ratan Lal Saha, assistant engineer of the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) of Companiganj upazila, said: “A washroom was built with modern facilities at a cost of Tk15 lakh, which will be available for public use once it is painted. Once completed, it will help solve problems of safe drinking water, and changing clothes.”
The newly appointed Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Sumon Acharjee said: “I have heard about the problems, and inconveniences faced by tourists at Shada Pathar. I will soon take necessary steps to solve the issues, so that the tourists may not suffer during their stay here.”