The suspension will be applicable for five days before and three days after the Eid
The government has decided to suspend goods transportation for nine days during the Eid-ul-Azha holiday.
Previously, it was reported that public transport would also come under the purview of the suspension. But State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said only vehicles transporting goods would be barred in the waterways during the Eid holiday, not the passenger vehicles.
Cargo transport suspension will be applicable for five days before, on the day of, and three days after Eid.
The state minister made the remarks during a press briefing at the Secretariat on Wednesday afternoon.
Before the briefing, the Ministry of Shipping held an inter-ministerial meeting to set out an action plan in the waterways before Eid-ul-Azha.
Shipping Secretary Mohammad Mezbahuddin Chowdhury, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq, launch owners, representatives of law enforcement agencies were present at the closed-door meeting.
“Vehicles transporting goods will not be allowed on the ferry during this time,” said the state minister.
Explaining the earlier confusion about public transport, he said: "When we started the meeting today [Wednesday], we said that public transport would be closed for five days before the Eid and three days after the Eid, according to the instructions from the Cabinet Division.
“Later the cabinet secretary in the meeting informed us that there was a misinterpretation. The decision that has been taken here is that any vehicle carrying goods will be banned for five days before the Eid and three days after the Eid. But our public transport such as launches or ferries will continue to carry passengers during this time,” Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said.
Responding to a question on whether the train or bus would carry passengers during Eid, the state minister for shipping said: “As far as I understand, the trains and buses will also run.”
Meeting insiders told Dhaka Tribune that at the beginning of the meeting, Shipping Secretary Mohammad Mezbahuddin Chowdhury talked to the cabinet secretary on phone to learn about the decision regarding public transport suspension.
Then the cabinet secretary informed the shipping secretary that a misinterpretation had been made in the written order. The decision is that public transport will carry passengers but vehicles carrying goods will be off the roads during the specified period.
Earlier on Wednesday, following the directives from the Cabinet Division, Road Transport and Highways Division ordered Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) to issue a gazette notification to shut down public transport for nine days.
BRTA Chairman Noor Mohammad told Dhaka Tribune: “We had received a directive to ban public transport for nine days during the Eid. But at the same day we received the instruction that the directive is now cancelled.
“Now there is no directive to suspend public transport,” he said.