Bangla sailors stranded

Foodstuff and other items stolen from sunk barge

By ANSHUMAN PHADIKAR
  • Published 13.09.18
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The cabin of the barge when it resurfaced on Wednesday

Mahishadal: Nine Bangladeshi sailors who were among the crew of a barge that sank here on Tuesday have been left stranded in a local clubhouse allegedly with no help from the East Midnapore district authorities.

The barge laden with fly ash sank in Haldia on Tuesday after it collided with a buoy at the confluence of the Rupnarayan and Hooghly rivers. The 150ft vessel was on its way from Budge Budge to Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshi sailors said their belongings had been stolen from the wrecked barge on Wednesday.

The nine sailors are nearing the end of their four-day visa, which might leave them in legal trouble as well. The captain of the barge, Malay Bag, is an East Midnapore resident and went home following the disaster.

The sailors were taken ashore by local fishermen and subsequently sheltered for the night in a single-room tin-roofed local club. The sailors were then allegedly left totally unattended by the authorities.

Engine master Sheikh Nurajjaman said: "We went to the barge when it surfaced during low tides. We found that all our foodstuff and personal belongings had been stolen. The loot included cooking gas cylinder, lentils, vegetables, and utensils,"

Engine man Mohammed Jamal Mollah said: "We have been in a fix since yesterday. We have no money and no proper accommodation. One of us was lucky enough to go home, but the rest of us are stuck. Fortunately, the youths of a local club were kind enough to help, but there has not been any word from the authorities. We don't know what to do next."

Block development officer of Mahishadal, Jayanta De, said: "We have received the news of the wreckage but not of the theft."

District magistrate of East Midnapore, Rashmi Kamal, said: "I am looking into the matter. We will definitely address the problems of the sailors."

Additional superintendent of police in charge of Haldia, Parijat Biswas, said: "If we receive a complaint, we will definite look into the matter of the sailors."