Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ensure safe river route before Eid

Ensure safe river route before Eid

Inland waterway routes in Bangladesh have suffered a gradual decline not only in navigable length but also in service quality and safety standards. Though our country is a riverine one, we have shown utter nonchalance to our rivers' navigability essential for plying the water transports. It is absolutely necessary to maintain the waterways to reduce our business expenses too. If the use of waterways can be increased, the time, money and expenditure can be significantly pared. Home-bound people of coastal areas usually prefer, especially during the Eid holidays, waterways to reach their village homes to avoid traffic jam and road crashes. This intensifies pressure on waterways. Moreover, lakhs of head of cattle have to be transported from the countryside to the cities and towns ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha. The transport of the sacrificial animals like cow and goat, buffalo and sheep will start soon. But the riverine transport system generally suffers a shambolic chaos during the monsoon. Regular ferry plying is hindered by very strong current at Aricha, Daulatdia, Paturia, Shimulia and keorakandi points. The erosion on the one hand makes the pontoons at ferryghats unfit for vehicular movement and on the other the ferries fail to provide regular services owing to strong current. The anchoring ghats are frequently shifted disturbing enormously the plying of ferries. The erosion and fierce current combined together sometimes force ferries to close services. As a result, massive tailback is seen on both sides of the Padma. Sometimes, more than a thousand trucks and buses get stuck in the tailback at ferry ghats. Due to strong current river crossing becomes a time consuming affair as ferries and launches take unusually longer hours to cross the river. Thousands of passengers become stranded and their plight beggars description. Traders and transport owners incur heavy loss as the trucks laden with perishable goods and other commodities remain caught in the tailback for days together. It is, therefore, incumbent on the authorities to ensure safety and security of river routes for home-bound people and smooth transport of goods and cattle. The old, decrepit and risky ferries and pontoons should be replaced or thoroughly repaired to cope with the growing pressure of passengers and transports during the Eid. The authorities have to deploy adequate number of law enforcers at ferry terminals to maintain discipline for uninterrupted ferry and launch services, and to take tough action to stop overloading of all kinds of passenger vessels on different waterways routes. Moblie court drives have to be conducted against irregularities and mismanagement in service, preventing illegal and unfit vessels from plying.

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