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Burimari port shut for 6 days amid workers’ strike

UNB . Lalmonirhat
19 Sep 2023 18:49:26 | Update: 19 Sep 2023 18:56:25
Burimari port shut for 6 days amid workers’ strike
— Courtesy/UNB

The workers’ strike at the Burimari land port has brought import-export activities to a halt for the past six days, causing significant disruptions in trade.

Workers demanded that payments must be made directly through labour handling contractors or their representatives rather than through intermediaries like “Sardar.” They said unless their demands are met, they will indefinitely cease all goods loading and unloading operations.

A huge traffic jam was created at the land port with goods-carrying trucks from both India and Bangladesh. Trucks arriving from India are not being unloaded, and congestion has spilled over into the land port yards and highways.

On September 12, land port workers clashed with Sardar's group over the payment of wages and other issues. The police used rubber bullets and tear gas to control the situation. Fifteen people, including two journalists, were injured during the incident.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ullah formed a five-member investigation committee on September 16 following the clash.

This committee, led by Additional District Magistrate Mahbubur Rahman, includes Lalmonirhat Senior Assistant Superintendent of Police Farhad Imrul Kayes, Patgram Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Nurul Islam, Patgram police station Officer-in-Charge Ferdous Wahid, and Burimari Land Port Authority Assistant Director (Traffic) Gias Uddin.

On September 17, a delegation comprising ten workers and President of the C&F Agents Association Sayeduzzaman Sayed held discussions.

Despite these talks, workers rejected the proposal for loading, unloading and wage payment through mediators like Sardar and contractors. Consequently, the meeting concluded without a solution.

Sajjad Hossain, president of the Burimari land port unit of Sramik League, said all workers at the port would continue their strike until their demands were met.

UNO Nurul Islam said no final decision has been reached yet.

No truck from India entered Bangladesh on Tuesday due to the ongoing labour unrest, said Abdul Alim, Deputy Commissioner of Customs at Burimari land port.

“District officials and the UNO are actively working to resolve the matter, with hopes that a solution will be reached soon to restore normal operations at the Burimari land port,” he said.

This labour unrest is not a recent development. Workers have repeatedly protested against labour intermediaries like Sardars for alleged misconduct, including failing to pay wages, payroll deductions, and not forming labour organisation committees through elections.