Strong currents slowing ferry trips
With only two days left before Eid ul Azha, homebound people continued leaving Dhaka while ignoring the risk of Covid-19 transmission and overcrowding Shimulia ferry terminal on Sunday.
Currently, 15 of the 19 ferries and 84 out of the 87 launches are moving on this route.
Some of the ferries are not operating due to strong currents in the river. The authorities also did not allow the operation of three launches as they did not have updated documents, said the terminal authorities.
Unable to control the unusual pressure of vehicles and passengers, authorities brought two more ferries – ‘Kakoli’ and ‘Kolmilata’ - from Chandpur. However, the queues of stranded trucks and other vehicles are getting longer and longer.
All the launches are defying government instructions to carry passengers at half capacity.
The terminal authorities said they have set up separate control rooms for serving passengers, but passengers are not maintaining social distancing rules or even wearing masks.
Sirajul Kabir, in-charge of Mawa Naval police outpost, said small launches are carrying excessive numbers of passengers despite strong currents in the Padma River.
Assistant General Manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport and Corporation (BIWTC) Shafiqul Islam said strong currents are slowing down the movement of ferries, bringing down the number of \ trips.
He said around 1,000 goods-laden and other vehicles are waiting for their turn to cross the river at the terminal.