Foreign tours by labour leaders of Chittagong port in disguise of training and other pretexts have become a random practice leading to increase of expenditure for the country's prime maritime port.
As many as six tours have been made by the insistence of the labour leaders over the last two years and another foreign tour comprising 12 members is likely to visit three countries from January 29.
"Approximately Tk 25 million have been spent in this connection over the last two years from the port's training and other heads", a senior port official said Saturday preferring anonymity.
Port officials said that on an average Tk 300,000 is spent per person on such a tour.
Sources claimed that leaders from port's collective bargaining agencies (CBA) and other labour organisations of mainstream political parties in connivance with senior port and the Ministry of Shipping officials are forcing the authorities to arrange such trips that are actually more 'pleasure tours' than professional trips.
"Chittagong Port Board, the highest decision-making body of the autonomous organisation, approves the total expenditure of such trips and no objections have so far been made in its audits in this connection", the official said.
A 12-member team is scheduled to visit Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore from January 29 to see private operations of the ports of those countries. Four leaders selected from Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal, two from Jatiya Sramik League (partial), two from Jamaat-backed Sramik Sangha, one from Awami League-backed Sramik League and three port officials will be in the team.
Deputy Project Director of New Mooring Container Terminal (NMCT) Engineer Sabur will lead the team, according to officials.
According to port order on the latest tour, the leaders and officials will visit ports of Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore between January 20 and 30 and acquire the operational knowledge from those ports.
It also stated that experiences from this tour will be replicated in the private operation of the NMCT.
However, terming such tours as 'useless' and 'waste of money', port users wondered how the CPA could arrange such a tour when the work of the NMCT has been completed only 45 per cent and struggling for possessing 14.5 acres of acquired land over last few months.