Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed on Tuesday requested the deputy commissioner of Sylhet to stop taking entry fees from the tourists at the popular and natural beautiful tourist spot of Jaflong under Gowainghat upazila of Sylhet.
In a letter to the deputy commissioner, the local lawmaker also wanted to know the legal procedures of fixing entry fees, their collection, and uses, introduced by the district tourism committee.
Acknowledging the letter, Sylhet Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mozibor Rahman said, “I have received the letter from the minister this noon. We have already taken the decision not to collect an entry fee from the tourists until the next meeting of the district tourism committee to visit Jaflong.”
He, however, couldn’t tell the schedule of the next meeting.
Legal experts have also termed the ticketing system at the tourists’ hub as illegal and out of the jurisdiction of the tourism committee without a gazette by the concerned ministry.
Emad Ullah Shahiddul Islam, former president of the district bar council, said, “District tourism committee cannot collect an entry fee from the tourists violating directives of the gazette notification. This is illegal and out of the jurisdiction. They can’t do it. They (tourism committee) have to work following their jurisdiction given by the ministry.”
Gowainghat Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Tahmilur Rahman said, “The decision of entry fee has been made by the district administration at a meeting of district tourism committee on November 8, 2021, following the gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism.”
However, the UNB correspondent didn’t find any mention of fee collection in the 13 terms of references of the gazette.
Gowainghat upazila administration has earned Tk 40 lakh in seven months just from the entry fee of Jaflong.
People of various sections had been criticizing the ticketing system at the tourist spot. This issue came into a discussion on Thursday after an attack on some tourists by the volunteers who worked for the authority.
On Thursday last, volunteers appointed by the Gowainghat administration allegedly assaulted a group of tourists, including women and children, at the Jaflong tourist spot.
The volunteers attacked tourists with sticks following an altercation over buying tickets from the toll counter at Jaflong.
The video of the incident went viral on social media. It shows some men wearing blue volunteer uniforms assaulting a group of tourists with sticks.
Five people, including two volunteers, have been arrested in this regard.
Source: United News of Bangladesh