A tense situation is prevailing in the Bera upazila of Pabna as two groups of influential people are trying to get lease of Nagarbari Ghat. The problem has been created as BIWTA leased the Ghat to someone other than the regular lessee violating a HC bench direction.
It has been learned that a local business person named M/S Iman Ali has been collecting toll on the lease of Nagarbari Ghat for several years.
Leaseholder M/S Iman Ali submitted prescribed fees for renewal of lease for the fiscal year 2021-2022 as per the instructions of the BIWTA. However, the authorities concerned rejected the application of M/S Iman Ali for unknown reasons.
In this regard, the organisation M/S Iman Ali filed a writ petition No. 5840/2021 with the High Court (HC) Division. After the hearing, the HC took cognizance of the writ petition and stayed it for one month. The BIWTA then formed a committee comprising three employees in order to collect revenues. This committee collected duties from June 30 to July 1 this year. Later, M/S Iman Ali filed a petition seeking stay on the khas collection and the High Court passed the order in his favour.
When the khas collection was stopped due to the suspension order of the High Court, the BIWTA then provided work order to Bera upazila chairman Rezaul Haque Babu to collect revenues in Nagarbari-Kazirhat-Naradah area from July 30, 2021 to August 28, 2021 as per the 'spot quotation' method of Article 33 (Kha) (1) of the lease system.
Alhaj Iman Ali, the proprietor of M/S Iman Ali, who filed the petition with the High Court, said that some dishonest officials of BIWTA had disobeyed the order of the High Court.
He said that even though more than 250 seaports and ghats of the country have been leased together following a process, but it is not understandable that why the BIWTA is dilly-dallying regarding the lease of this ghat.
In this regard, Golam Mostafa Babu, Joint General Secretary of Nagarbari business association, said that the government has taken an initiative to construct a modern river port in the area with a cost of around Tk 600 crore to expand the trade and commerce through this ghat. He said that the authorities should solve the issue after conducting an investigation to continue the development activities of the government.
However, Bera Upazila Chairman Rezaul Haque Babu, who received the new work order at Nagarbari Ghat, said the BIWTA had issued a work order to collect the duty for one month following due procedure. Later, BIWTA extended the time for one more month.
Mentioning that he did not know anything about HC order, Rezaul Haque Babu said, “I did not disobey HC by any means as I only followed instruction of BIWTA”.
Failing to get the lease of the ghat, Iman Ali is spreading rumour, he said adding that it is not possible for anybody to be lessee through muscle power. “The authorities have awarded me the work order being satisfied with the papers and document,” he said.
BIWTA acting deputy director (Aricha) Masud Parvez rejected the allegation of irregularities and contempt of court saying the aggrieved party can legally contest the matter.
“If higher authorities order allocation of ghat to Iman Ali considering the court’s order and other documents, we will do so,” he said.
Sheikh Jillur Rahman, additional superintendent of police (Bera Circle) of Pabna, police have nothing to do with the ghat. If law and order nosedives centering the ghat, police will take action, he said.
BDST: 1909 HRS, SEP 28, 2021