aa Monglaport Authority - Historical Background
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  • Historical Background:


History suggests that the maritime trade had greater interaction in this area and over the centuries, sub-continental coastlines have provided natural ports of call to the distant traders of the South East Asia and West Asia.

The liberation of Bengali trade by the effective Mogul conquest of riverine Bengal also helped to strengthen shipping from Calcutta/ Mongla/ Chalna/ Chittagong to the littoral ports of the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. Emperor Akbar established an imperial naval department called Nawara and appointed Amirul Bahar to look after the riverine navigation with a view to increasing trade and commerce with in the empire. Even at that time this part of Bengal was famous for excellence in the art of navigation and the Nawara used to buy ships and boats made of Sundari. British, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and Arakanese came across a flourishing trading system in South Asia, which linked the business centres of East Bengal with Kolkata/Calcutta through the river routes of Mongla and the Sunderban.

The Arakanese (Maghs) Pirates, the Ferringhees (Portuguese), Dutch and English renegades begun systematic piracy and robbery in the Sundarban area. With some small and light galleys they did nothing but coast about that sea, and entering into Sunderban through the rivers like Marjjal (now known as Zulfiquar channel), Malancha, Jamuna, Arapangsia and into the channels and arms of these rivers and between all these isles of the lower Bengal and often penetrating even beyond the Sunderban up into the countryside, surprised and carried away whole towns, assemblies, markets, feasts etc. They used to torch people and make women slaves great and small, with strange cruelty and burning all they could not carry away. Not a householder was left on the sides of the rivers and they swept it with the broom of plunder and abduction leaving none to inhibit a house or kindle a fire the entire tract. In a labyrinth of rivers the adventurers could dive and dart, appear and disappear, ravage the countryside and escape with impunity and hence this area has been the victims of exploits and depredations of foreign and native adventurers alike. For ages this area was known as Magher Mulluk due to terror created by the Maghs and the Portuguese armada. And probably there are seen in the mouth of Ganges/Sunderban so many fine isles quite deserted, which were formerly well peopled, and where no other inhabitants are found but wild beasts and specially tigers. Bengali rulers even built Forts in the confluence of Sibsa/Marjjal, Araibaki (Known as Ferringhee Fort) and Malancha and Jamuna. There are still channels in the Sundarban, which is known as Ferringhee Fari/Khal, Ferringheer Doania khal as these used to be places for heavy encounter with the Maghs, Arakenese pirates beside the confluence of Marjjal, Malancha and Pussur and Arapangsia. Khulna encompassing Mongla was set up as a first sub division in 1842 to hold in check Mr. Henry Sneyd Rainey  who did not seem to acknowledge the restraints of the law in the area. While in-charge of the sub division, Bankim Chandra helped very largely in suppressing river dacoits in the area and establishing law and order in the river routes/canals. The Government of British India also established a port at Morelganj at the  request of Mr. Robert Morel in 1869, which was to expedite the movement of merchandise via Mongla.

Even foreign ships visited this port. Khulna. Mongla, Gouramva, Lakhpur, Bagerhat (got prominent due Khan Jahan Ali), Fakirhat, Rampal, Chaksree (remnants of a fort recorded) and Morelganj at that time supplied good quality of cheaper rice, pulse,  coconut, battle nut, tobacco, indigo and salt. All these items including rice of Barisal were ferried by boats to Calcutta and Saptagram through Mongla

for export. The name Mongla originated from Mongla River presently known as Mongla Nulla. Mongla River originated from Pussur and Rampal is situated beside Pussur. It is at the confluence of river Pussur and Mongla Nulla where the present Mongla Port is working.Admiral Jefford, the first C-in-C of the Pakistan Navy ( Jefford point is named after him), knowing the importance of a second port, steamed into the approaches to the Pussur River with PNS Jhelum and Zulfiqar and sailed some 60 miles up the newly surveyed channel to Chalna anchorage. During the passage up and down the river he examined both the seaward approach charts and those of the river which had been drawn up by Zulfiqar. He decided that the site for a suitable riverine port at Chalna had been found which could take some of the load off Chittagong. Subsequently, the light vessel “ Sindhi” to be used in the approaches of the Pussur river, first class swinging moorings  arrived Chalna from Karachi Port trust including Mr. ESB Bhombal, a senior pilot to serve as the Port Officer and Conservator at Chalna.

This part of Bengal always produced good quality boats for sale, which are used for carrying various types of merchandise to Hoogly/Saptagram/ Calcutta and other areas. The Sundari provided the best form of wood that used to last long or did not worn out/spoil easily in saline water and proved much better than the British Oaks. The types of boats made are Ghurab, Gallivat/Jalia, Bepari, Balia/Balam Pal/Polwaree Massoola, Fusta and koosa boats and budgerows.  Even the name of Chinese junk originated from the boats called Janpatrak or nick named Janak used in this area. Some of these boats were very fast and most of them were employed as  warships  either against the Moghuls or the pirates.

Khulna encompassing Mongla was set up as a first sub division in 1842 to hold in check Mr. Henry Sneyd Rainey  who did not seem to acknowledge the restraints of the law in the area. While in-charge of the sub division, Bankim Chandra helped very largely in suppressing river dacoits in the area and establishing law and order in the river routes/canals. The Government of British India also established a port at Morelganj at the request of Mr. Robert Morel in 1869, which was to expedite the movement of merchandise via Mongla. Even foreign ships visited this port. Khulna. Mongla, Gouramva, Lakhpur, Bagerhat (got prominent due Khan Jahan Ali), Fakirhat, Rampal, Chaksree (remnants of a fort recorded) and Morelganj at that time supplied good quality of cheaper rice, pulse,  coconut, battle nut, tobacco, indigo and salt. All these items including rice of Barisal were ferried by boats to Calcutta and Saptagram through Mongla for export. The name Mongla originated from Mongla River presently known as Mongla Nulla. Mongla River originated from Pussur and Rampal is situated beside Pussur. It is at the confluence of river Pussur and Mongla Nulla where the present Mongla Port is working.

With the partition of the Sub-continent in the year 1947, East Pakistan came into existence with its own export and import requirements, which were unique compare to West Pakistan separated by one thousand miles of Indian Territory. Chittagong being only port with limited facilities and inadequately equipped for handling large number of ships, faced a sudden on-rush of imports and exports of all types of commodities required for East Pakistan. Chittagong Port being located at the south eastern part of the country, the import and export had to be transported through different tedious, expensive and time consuming modes of transport causing excessive delay and rising transportation cost. . In the meantime the Korean War broke out. The war caused unprecedented rise in the export demand for jute and jute goods. The increased volume had put enormous strain causing congestion at Chittagong port. The emergent of a second seaport, therefore, became most essential for smooth handling to mainly export of jute and jute goods and import of the north and western parts of the country.

Admiral Jefford, the first C-in-C of the Pakistan Navy ( Jefford point is named after him), knowing the importance of a second port, steamed into the approaches to the Pussur River with PNS Jhelum and Zulfiqar and sailed some 60 miles up the newly surveyed channel to Chalna anchorage. During the passage up and down the river he examined both the seaward approach charts and those of the river which had been drawn up by Zulfiqar. He decided that the site for a suitable riverine port at Chalna had been found which could take some of the load off Chittagong. Subsequently, the light vessel “ Sindhi” to be used in the approaches of the Pussur river, first class swinging moorings  arrived Chalna from Karachi Port trust including Mr. ESB Bhombal, a senior pilot to serve as the Port Officer and Conservator at Chalna.

Accordingly, the legal framework for the creation of a second seaport was provided through a Gazette and by virtue of this notification Chalna Port came into existence with effect form 1 Dec.1950 under the Ministry of Communication. A British merchant ship “City of Lyons” first entered the port and anchored at Joymonirgol on 11 Dec. 1950, thus making the auspicious beginning of cargo handling operation at the anchorage. On March 17, 1951, the anchorage was shifted near Chalna Bazar, 22 km upstream. But as the anchorage site was found unsuitable for operation, further investigations were undertaken for selecting a suitable site. In 1953, Sir Claude English came to the then East Pakistan for surveying the Channel of Chittagong Port who was also assigned with the responsibility of surveying Pussur- Sibsa river basin to find out a suitable site for the anchorage. In his survey report, submitted in 1954, Sir Claude English recommend that the anchorage site is shifted to Mongla, about 16 km. downstream from Chalna Bazar. Accordingly on June 20,1954, the Directorate of Chalna Anchorage was shifted to Mongla between Mongla Nulla and Pussur River. Thereafter a series of studies were undertaken and the present site was selected for constructing permanent port facilities and finally five jetties were constructed with necessary back up facilities including handling of containers in 1978. The port directorate was then changed to an autonomous body called, Chalna Port Authority and placed under the Ministry of Shipping from 1978. On 24 March, 1982 Chalna Port Authority was again renamed as Port of Chalna Authority and at last the port found its present name Mongla Port Authority since 8 March, 1987.

 

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