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Home » Barisal, Bhola, Featured News » Seven-month ban on passenger vessel service on risky routes starts
14 March 2014 Friday 10:23:37 PM
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Seven-month ban on passenger vessel service on risky routes starts
Anisur Rahman Swapan

The seven-month-long restriction on plying of passenger carrying water transports, including launches and trawlers, on risky four routes touching 26 stations in the danger zone of Meghna River estuary and coastal areas becomes effective from early Saturday, March 15.

Sources said out of 26 stations, BIWTC arranged sea truck services only for 6 major stations on four coastal routes.

The river isolated peoples of other 20 stations and huge number of unmarked temporary stations in Bhola, Barguna, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Chittagong districts have to travel on unapproved small water transports like trawlers, engine and country boats endangering their life and properties, said Ahad Chowdhury Tuhin, one journalist of the area.

The routes touching major stations like Shabajpur, Mozuchowdhurir Hat, Daulatkhan, Mirzakalu, Char Alexander, Serajganj, Shashiganj, Betua, Aslampur, Buriabon, Barguna, Patharghata, Baro Machuakati on Meghna, Ilisha, Kocha, Baleswar, Bishkhali, Tentulia and Bura Gourango.

This region is vulnerable to natural calamities like cyclone, storm and nor-wester and water transports was main mode of water transportation, said Abul Bashar Majumdar, deputy director Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authourity and river safety and traffic management of Barisal port.

However ban, without an arrangement of alternative transportation will confine a large number of people to islands and endanger their lives because of travel by unsafe small transports, he agreed.

Crisis of safe water transportation on river isolated region bound local people to avail unsafe small motor launches, boats, trawlers, speed boats on Meghna, Ilisha, Kocha, Baleswar, Bishkhali, Agunmukha, Tentulia river estuaries and coastal areas, Dr. Mizanur Rahman, member-secretary Barisal Nagorik Parishad and a resident of the danger-zone area.

The 210-day restriction was first imposed by the sea transportation directorate on June 18, 2000 following some fatal launch and trawler accidents in previous years in the areas on about 3000 kilometers long routes which touches at least 26 stations , said Mahruf Hossain, inspector shipping directorate office in Barisal.

The restriction imposed by shipping ministry from March 15 to October 15 because of nor’wester, cyclone and storm during monsoon threatening lives of travelers in the river estuaries and coastal belts in the southern region, Mahruf explained.

Md. Shahidullah, deputy director BIWTA and Barisal River Port officer said, the ban on plying passenger transports without having valid license or sea-survey fitness was aimed at saving lives of the travelers.

Acknowledging the acute shortage of vessels approved for plying in the danger zone, Gopal Chandra Majumdar, assistant manager BIWTC Barisal station, said they trying to place four BIWTC sea trucks on danger-zone routes soon.

Sea trucks named ST Shahid Fazlul Huq Moni on Char Alexandar-Mirzakalu Route, ST Sukanta Babu/Sheikh Kamal on Manpura-Shashiganj route, ST Khizir-7 on Ilisha-Maju Chowdhury route and ST Khizir-8 on Barisal-Maju Chowdhury route would be placed on the danger-zone areas, he added.

Imposing long 210-day ban without placing sufficient safe vessels like Sea Trucks or alternative transports having valid bay-crossing license of sea-survey fitness certificate for plying on passenger service in these routes would make the ban fruitless, said Enayet Chowdhury, a passenger of the route.

Edited By: Central Desk

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