Fertiliser supply to 16 N districts hampered
With navigation problem taking a serious turn in the Jamuna channel following drastic fall of water level at different points, fertiliser transportation to 16 northern districts through Baghabari river port has remained suspended for over a month.
Leaseholders at Baghabari port demanded extra charges from the owners of vessels and barges that often get stuck up and take more time than scheduled.
But the contractors carrying fertiliser declined to comply with demand for extra charges and consequent stalemate has continued for over a month.
At present, fertiliser sacks from the cargo vessels and barges are being unloaded from Notakhola Point of Jamuna River for supply to Pabna, Sirajganj, Bogra, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Natore, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Kurigram, Naogaon, Joypurhat, Lalmonirhat, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh and Nilphamari districts.
Earlier, the goods including fertilizer were unloaded from Nagorbarighat for several days following the dispute between leaseholders and the carrying contractors and navigability problem in the river channel, Baghabari port sources said.
Due to the poor navigability, cargo vessels and barges often get stuck at different points of Jamuna River. As many as 15 cargo vessels and barges loaded with huge quantity of fertiliser are now stuck up at different points of the Jamuna channel due to poor navigability, sources said.
Farmers have to purchase fertiliser with high prices due to added carrying time and expenditure required for its supply to the districts.
During a visit to fertiliser dealers' shops in different upazilas of Sirajganj district, this correspondent saw fertiliser selling at previous rates although the government has announced reduction of its prices.
The dealers, however, said they did not get yet any instruction about the new rate of fertiliser.
The claimed that they are counting loss as they have to spend additional money as carrying cost.
The dealers also told about short supply of fertiliser.
Mazibar Rahman, a fertiliser trader of Shahebganj Bazaar in Raiganj upazila of Sirajganj district recently said he is facing crisis of TSP and potash. Many farmers are going back from his trade centre due to short supply. He also urged the government to start open market sale system for all fertiliser in the greater interest of farmers.
The port authorities said, if the navigation problem is resolved and the channel is made suitable for movement of barges and vessels, the port will get life again. In this regard, they also sent several letters to the BIWTA authorities demanding proper dredging, but to no effect.
A BIWTA official seeking anonymity told The Daily Star that they have failed to keep the route functional for want of logistic supports including adequate manpower and dredging machines. When they complete dredging at a point, the current of river carry quantities of sand from other points and make the point silted again.