BAGERHAT, Mar 12: The government has undertaken measures to start survey works for setting up a coast-guard base on the newly-emerged Bangabandhu Island.
The base will help ensure safety of the vessels coming to and going out of the Mongla Port. Besides, local fishermen going to the Bay of Bengal for catching fish will get security benefits since they are victims of regular piracy across the Bay.
Representatives comprising three members of the administration have visited the coastal belt recently to see for themselves the prevailing condition in some of the areas. The establishment of coast-guard base on the Bangabandhu Island at both eastern and southern sides of Dubla and Hiron points will strengthen the security arrangement for the vessels and fishermen, experts opined.
Earlier, members of civil society and fishermen placed a strong demand to implement the project in the best interest of security at the coastal belt.
More than 15 years back, an island like sandy place was noticed in the Bay at a distance of 120 nautical miles from Mongla. Gradually, many varieties of trees arriving from the upstream through high and low tides filled the island with vegetation. Later, trees and plants like sundari, banana, arum, nuts etc were noticed. With the passage of time, the growth of those multiplied in the new place.
The size of the new island stands at 1.28 nautical miles in length and 1.2 nautical miles in width. The local fishermen started calling the island as Bangabandhu Island. Since then the incoming ships, both domestic and foreign, towards Mongla and fishermen in the sea have been demanding enforcement of adequate security measures in the newly-emerged island.
While talking with two fishermen Asmat and Sohel, this correspondent came to know that they have been fishing in the belt for more than 15 years with much insecurity. Nobody comes to salvage them when they are trapped into severe problems of life and death. The demand for a coast-guard base and a cyclone centre has been raised by the fishermen on several occasions.
The chief of the survey team Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Khulna Dipankar Biswas told The Daily Observer that they have examined pros and cons of how the new island can be utilised. The Home Ministry also asked them to submit their opinion about establishment of a coast-guard base on the island, he added.
Staff Officer (Detective) of Coast Guard's Western Zone under Mongla Lt. A M Rahatuzzaman told the Observer that establishment of a base will immensely contribute to ensuring the security in the Bay.