A CONTROVERSY how to unload and store imported explosives at Chattogram Port needs to be immediately quelled. Media reports on Saturday said importers of dangerous cargoes such as explosives are facing acute problem in unloading the same from ships following instruction by the port authority to remove them within 72 hours of unloading for port safety. Clearing agents also have been asked to give undertaking in writing about this and said it would be better for them to directly deliver the containers at importers premises instead of storing it at the port. But customs authorities on the other hand want physical verification of containers unloading cargo in the port. Thus caught in the middle of the controversy Bangladesh Shipping Agents' Association has demanded quick resolution of the problem saying many ships carrying such cargo have remained stranded in the sea or returning to the port of origin. Despite writing twice to the port authority and once to Bangladesh Customs and Bangladesh Navy within 15 days nobody is coming forward to resolve it but the continuation of the standoff will only create negative impact on vessel operators while adding to cost of the imports. As we see importers have rightly demanded initiative from the port authority to end the crisis and we would similarly say such situation must be resolved forthwith. For this all three agencies must sit together to find out an acceptable solution. Need no mention that Chattogram Port authority is right to call for quick removal of the cargo in view of its explosive nature on safety ground. They have acted in the light of the recent explosion from explosive stocks in Beirut port ware houses. It has not only killed over 200 people and injured over 6570, more than 300,000 lost homes when city blocks were blown up in unprecedented blast and blaze. But we can't also exonerate the failure of the respective authorities at the same time in finding quick solution when it is impeding imports. We have to protect life and property and at the same time business must also be allowed to continue unimpeded.
Editor: A.M. MUFAZZAL, Managing Editor: ARSHAD HOSEIN.
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