Business activities have come to a halt in many parts of the district, including trade heartland Khatunganj-Chaktai and Chattogram port, due to waterlogging and flashflood caused by incessant rains for the last few days, dealing a severe blow to businesspeople.
Businessmen suffered huge losses due to the stalemate in business activities following flood which affected many areas of the port city and 15 upazilas of the district.
Although Khatunganj-Chaktai, one of the country’s largest wholesale markets, was not inundated this time like previous occasions, business activities there decreased to 30 percent compared to the regular time, sources said.
Waterlogging and flashflood following heavy rains since August 4 submerged most areas of the city and 15 upazilas of the district, leaving around 9 lakh people marooned.
Sources related to shipping business said there were some 50-55 mother vessels that carry different types of cargoes, including crude oil, stone, coal, fertiliser and wheat.
However, those remained anchored at the Outer Anchorage of Chattogram Port over the last six days without unloading goods.
Heavy rains and the turbulent sea did not allow lightering of the imported goods from the mother vessels over the days.
Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association Chairman Syed Mohammad Arif told the Daily Sun that the weather dealt a heavy blow to the import and export business.
A vessel has to provide demurrage to the tune of $20,000-$50,000 depending on its size for delay for a single day. The vessels had to remain idle completely over the last six days as lighter vessel could not reach them, said Arif.
Besides, the offloading of bulk cargoes at the port jetties and delivery of goods were also hampered due to the inclement weather, he said.
Importers, exporters and those hired vessels will have to face the losses for now. However, the marginal buyers of products will bear the ultimate effect, Arif observed. Water Transport Cell (WTC), an organisation which coordinates the allocation and schedule of lighter vessels, informed that most of the lighter vessels could not work over the last six days.
WTC Executive Director Mahbub Rashid said most of the lighter vessels remained idle over the days, causing huge losses for the owners.
There are 1,800 lighter vessels that ply under their supervision. Only six of them went to the Outer Anchorage for lightering on Tuesday and 14 on Wednesday, he said.
The situation started improving since Wednesday afternoon and it will take 2-3 more days for the situation to become normal, said Mahbub.
Besides, a turnout of Tk 2,500 crore used to take place at the Chaktai and Khatunganj trade heartland, the busiest wholesale market in the city.
But, the trading came down to Tk 700-800 crore, some 30 percent of the usual volume, over the last five days, said Khatunganj Trade and Industry Association General Secretary Syed Sagir Ahmed while talking to the Daily Sun on Wednesday afternoon.
The market witnessed a waterlogging for one day during the inclement weather this time, he said.
As the road communications of Chattogram with other districts were disrupted in many areas, the businesses activities witnessed a drastic fall, said Sagir.
Traders and trucks from the local markets and other areas could not reach the wholesale hub due to the bad weather, resulting in the situation, he added.
Sagir laid emphasis on ensuring proper drainage system through faster implementation of the projects taken involving over Tk 10,000 crore for removing the long-drawn waterlogging of the port city.
Besides, heavy rains and waterlogging damaged at least 50 kilometres of city roads over the last few days. The damage will increase further rains were still lashing the city.
However, the extent of damage caused to highways and rural roads in different upazilas under the district could not be known as the authorities concerned are yet to ascertain it.
It will take time to know the extent of damage as roads still remained under water in most of the upazilas, said sources.