‘Harsher punishment for pollution in Ctg port’

Published : 16 Nov 2021 01:30 AM | Updated : 16 Nov 2021 11:16 AM

Chittagong Port Authority Bill-2021 has been raised in Parliament with a provision of maximum three years imprisonment and a fine of Tk 3 lakh for polluting the Chittagong port area.

State minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury raised the bill in Parliament on Monday.  It was later examined and sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Shipping for a report in Parliament within 60 days.

 The bill has been brought to make a new law by repealing the Chittagong Port Authority Ordinance of 1976.  Under the existing law, there is a provision to impose a maximum fine of Tk 1 lakh for polluting the port area.  The proposed law seeks to determine that punishment in accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act.

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 The draft law states that violating any provision under this Act (in cases where the penalty is not mentioned) carries a maximum penalty of 6 months and a fine of Tk 2 lakh or both.

 The bill states that if waste is generated due to a ship or mechanical equipment in the port area, its owner or master or representative must remove it.  If the time limit for removal is exceeded, a fee has to be paid.  Then the port authorities will remove that waste.  The person responsible will have to pay double the cost for this.

 If any rent, fine, fee, toll, charge or compensation is unpaid, the port authority will be able to collect half of it by auctioning the goods under its control.

 The bill provides for compensation in case of any damage to the dock, pier or any installation or authority due to the negligence of a ship's master, or someone working on the ship.

 If this law is enacted, the government will have to prepare a schedule for the collection of port rent and toll and get approval from the government.  However, if it is less than 5 thousand taka, approval is not required.  The proposed law also calls for a fund to be set up for the development and expansion of the port. The bill calls for a seven-member board of directors, headed by a chairman, to manage the port, where the existing law has four members.  Provision has been made in the draft law to hold at least one board meeting every two months.

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