Strike goes on at Sitakunda shipyard
Work remained suspended for a seventh day at Sitakunda ship-breaking yard as shipbreakers continued their demonstration yesterday for quick environmental clearances for 42 scrap vessels.
The work suspension started on Friday after the High Court passed an order to obtain environmental clearances for operating ship-breaking yards in line with the environment law.
Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA) Vice-President Kamal Uddin said importers are seeking permission to cut up the vessels for scrap. The vessels were imported between January and March.
He also blamed the Chittagong customs authority for not completing the taxation procedure for the vessels.
“We're holding meeting with the authorities to solve the legal complexities and hope to resume activities by Sunday,” he added.
Kamal alleged that the Department of Environment (DoE) is responsible for the delay in issuing the environmental certificates and urged the DoE to help set up a model ship-breaking yard so that businessmen can run activities in an environment-friendly way.
Syed Golam Kibria, Chittagong customs commissioner (import), said: “We have to follow the import policy. We can't go for an assessment or taxation unless a vessel has an environmental clearance or meet compliance.”
Mostafizur Rahman Akhand, acting director of DoE for Chittagong division, said his department informed the BSBA leaders that they would issue environmental certificates in the earliest possible time after required documents were ready.
The suspension increased the prices of mild-steel rod by around Tk 3,000 to Tk 40,800 a tonne in seven days, said Md Nurul Abser, an employee of Nazrul Traders.