January 21, 2021, 1:44 pm
Tahirpur (Sunamganj) Representative: At three customs stations in Tahirpur of Sunamganj, the boat workers have carried out a human chain program demanding an end to the extortion of the son of the Upazila Awami League president from coal-limestone carriers. The human chain program was celebrated on Tuesday (December 1) at Mandiyata Bazar in the upazila.
Abul Kalam Khan, the eldest son of former UP chairman Abul Hossain Khan, president of Tahirpur Upazila Awami League, alleged that the Parul administration was leasing money from coal-limestone-carrying vessels with the help of private gangs. Parul Khan’s forces are constantly detaining coal and limestone vessels and beating the workers. Fearing arms, they are extorting money in the name of toll at multiple ghats without a receipt.
The affected workers who took part in the human chain said that coal and limestone were imported through three customs stations at Barachhara, Charagaon and Bagli in Tahirpur. While transporting these limestones in engine driven trawlers, bulkheads and cargoes, Parul Khan has appointed private forces in the name of collecting additional toll on the Patlai river.
They said that these members of Parul Khan’s army stopped the boat if they did not pay the required amount. The boatmen snatched the workers’ mobile phones, locomotives and gas stoves. Besides, the ship workers are being subjected to various physical tortures by the forces. Abdur Rashid of Mahtabpur village in Tahirpur upazila said that the people employed by Parul Khan at Tinghat had to pay Rs. But in the past the administration had to pay toll of only Tk 200 against these boats.
Masum Ahmed, a boat worker from Kuchbari village in Chhatak upazila of the district, said, “If there is a boat from another area, we have to pay Tk 3,000 to Tk 4,000 at each wharf.” Upazila Sreepur North Union UP member.
Sajinur Mia said that Parul Khan was extorting money in the name of collecting toll at several ghats on the Patlai river by showing his father’s power. The black money of this extortionist gang is so high that when it comes to protesting, they are hanging on to various cases including harassment and extortion.
On Wednesday, Tahirpur Upazila Awami League president’s son Abul Kalam Khan Parul denied the allegation of extortion and told the media, “I have been appointed as the lease of the ghat to collect khans collection from the administration at a cost of Tk 14.40 lakh.” I am collecting toll through receipts at the prescribed rate.
I did not protest even after beating my people who were engaged in toll collection and throwing them into the water for not paying tribute to the local UP member.