The Mongla Port Authority Bill 2022 was passed in the Jatiya Sangsad today with a provision for tougher punishment for polluting the environment.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury moved the bill in the House which was unanimously passed by voice votes with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in chair.
While elaborately discussing the bill, the opposition lawmakers including Ganoforum lawmaker Mokabbir Khan, Jatiya Party lawmakers Fakhrul Imam, Rustam Ali Farazi, Mujibul Huq, Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary and Raushan Ara Mannan, BNP lawmaker Rumeen Farhana urged the parliament to seek public review on the proposed law and then sent it to the review committee.
The speaker then made the opposition lawmakers' demands null and void by the voice votes of the treasury bench lawmakers.
Piloting the bill, the state minister said the bill will abolish the Mongla Port Authority Ordinance 1976. Mongla port has been reactivated after massive dredging of the Ghasiakhali channel.
"The government has taken a development programme at a cost of Taka 6500 crore and it is now underway. The bill has been frequently scrutinized in different tiers," said the state minister.
As per the bill, the punishment for harming the environment by polluting water, land, and coast has been raised to one-year imprisonment or a fine of Tk5 lakh or both. The fine is Tk50,000 in the existing ordinance.
According to a new provision incorporated in the bill, the punishment for dodging toll, fee, and other charges of the port will invite a one-year jail term or a fine of Tk1 lakh or both.
Six months imprisonment or a fine of Tk2 lakh or by both would be imposed if there s any violation of the law while the punishment is only a six-month jail and a fine of Tk50,000 under the existing ordinance.
Besides, some new terminologies like "inland water vessel," "terminal," 'berth', container freight station, and "lease" have been incorporated into the bill.
According to the bill, there will be a seven-member board to run the port. The number of board members is now four in the existing ordinance.
The port authority can declare the restricted port area through a special order.