Chittagong port operations a mess!
It is ludicrous to think that a container carrying relief materials donated by a friendly nation for the victims of Cyclone Mora has been lying at Chittagong port since May of this year. The donation from the Indian navy contained 41 types of medicine and 70 types of other materials including packed food and soup tents, among other things, that could have come very handy for the cyclone victims had the shipment been delivered on time.
We are at a loss for words as to the blame game being traded between the Customs House, the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), the Chittagong District Administration, the High Commission and the C&F agent for the failure to expedite clearance for these essential items.
The container was duly handed over, the usual paperwork filed and the appointment of a C&F agent done. Then why did it take the agent three months to ask customs for a registration number? Apparently, the agent had asked for necessary paperwork from DDM which was not forthcoming. The DDM placed the blame on the donor and this passing on the buck from one agency to another went on for months, while we forgot all about Cyclone Mora and the victims.
We were under the impression that when it came to national emergencies like a cyclone, the wheels of government would move a little faster. We were wrong. Indeed, from what has been printed in this paper on December 23, no agency, neither domestic nor foreign, is willing to take responsibility for the mess. If this is going to be our response to emergencies, it would not come as a total surprise if some foreign donors think twice about sending relief materials our way next time a big calamity hits Bangladesh.