Waterlogging in Chattogram worsening by the day
Unloading of goods from larger vessels at the outer anchorage of Chattogram Port remains suspended due to rough seas since Friday, while trade at the Khatunganj-Chaktai wholesale hub has dropped significantly.
Most of the low-lying areas in the city and several upazilas of Chattogram have gone underwater due to heavy rain over the last three days.
Unloading of goods from bulk carriers at the jetties and delivery of goods have slowed down considerably due to the persistent rain.
This has resulted in at least 25 cargo vessels, carrying over 800,000 tonnes of goods, being stranded at the outer anchorage.
Wheat, raw sugar, soybean oil, fertilisers, and industrial raw materials are among the goods.
Water Transport Cell, a private organisation responsible for operating lighter vessels, said they allocated 25 lighter vessels for unloading goods of 12 large vessels out of 25 at the outer anchorage.
But none of the lighter vessels could reach the anchorage due to rough seas, said a WTC official, adding that this disruption could damage goods.
Due to disruption in unloading at outer anchorage, vessels are having to stay longer.
Contacted, Md Omar Faruk, secretary of Chattogram Port Authority (CPA), said unloading from five bulk carriers and 10 container vessels berthed at the jetties was going on but at a slow pace.
MV Amis Brave, a bulk carrier with 59,000 tonnes of cement clinker, arrived at the outer anchorage on July 23, but it was yet to be emptied fully.
Zahur Ahmad, managing director of ship's local agent Seacom Shipping Lines Ltd, said the importer would have to pay around $15,000 per day as fixed operating cost for the vessel.
Meanwhile, situation at the Khatunganj-Chaktai market, one of Bangladesh's largest wholesale hubs for household essentials, has worsened as rainwater and tidal water inundated most areas, resulting in a 50-60 percent fall in trade activities.
Ahmedul Haque, executive member of Chaktai-Khatunganj Warehouses Samiti, said most traders and labourers were passing days without work as business activities have almost come to a halt.
"The roads have been submerged for the last two days, but water could not enter shops and warehouses."
Many low-lying areas are still waterlogged as it has been raining heavily over the last three days.
The Chattogram Met Office yesterday recorded 231.4mm rainfall, the highest in the district this year, in the 24 hours until 3:00pm, said Assistant Met Officer Jahirul Islam.
This worsened the waterlogging situation.
The Daily Star yesterday found ground floors of most houses and business establishments were flooded in Muradpur, Bahaddarhat, Badurtola, Kapasgola, Sholashahar, Prabartok, Agrabad, Halishahar, Chawk Bazar, KB Aman Ali Road, and DC Road in the port city.
There were fewer vehicles on the streets. Some vehicles broke down on waterlogged streets.
"I had to change three vehicles to travel around two kilometres from Sholashahar to Chawkbazar as the streets in our area went under knee-to- waist-deep water," said Maruf Hossain, a employee of a company.
"My paddy fields have gone underwater, and the crops will be destroyed soon," said Mohammed Akbar, a farmer from Hathazari upazila.
Low-lying areas of Raozan, Rangunia, and Hathazari upazilas went underwater, said locals.
The Chattogram district administration evicted 800 families from risky hill slopes in the city as pouring rain caused landslides in the Tiger Pass area on Friday.
The Chattogram Development Authority, which is implementing a Tk 11,344 crore mega project to mitigate waterlogging, had said before the monsoon that this year's inundation would be less than that of previous years due to digging of many canals to mitigate the problem.
The city dwellers alleged that CDA gave them false hope.
Blaming the CCC for the waterlogging, CDA Chief Engineer Hasan Bin Shams said the drainage system has become ineffective as the CCC is not cleaning the drains properly.
Contacted, Mobarak Hossain, chairman of the CCC Standing Committee on Conservancy, said the CDA has been working with 36 major canals in the city, and until those are handed over to the CCC, they cannot do anything in the canals.