Heavy vehicles (passenger and freight) are not being allowed on the Shimulia-Banglabazar ferries until the strong current in the Padma river subsides
More than 500 vehicles are waiting to cross the Shimulia-Banglabazar route in Munshiganj. Meanwhile, the transport of goods and trucks is suffering immensely, due to the closure of heavy vehicular movement on the river.
Hundreds of vehicles were stranded as this report was being written at 5:30pm on Thursday.
Shafiqul Islam, deputy general manager of Shimulia Ghat of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), told Dhaka Tribune that the ban on heavy vehicles was still in force as per a cabinet directive.
Monir Hossain, a Khulna-bound passenger, said he arrived at the wharf in the early hours of Thursday but had not yet been able to get on a ferry.
A Gopalganj bound microbus passenger, Chunu Miya, said: "I’ve been in a queue for a ferry since early morning but still no luck. Many cars identified as carrying VIPs have got on the ferry. The launches are also crowded."
Meanwhile, launches are carrying extra passengers across the rough Padma without complying with hygiene rules.
Shafiqul Islam said: "Currently, five medium-sized ferries are operating on the waterway. Large ferries have been shut down. Due to this the pressure from passengers and vehicles is increasing on both sides of the river."
"Trucks and buses have been restricted to river crossings due to the overflow of small vehicles. Ro-ro ferries are being sent to Paturia. More than 500 vehicles are waiting to cross on both sides," he added.
He added, "Launches are operating on this water route. Passengers are also crossing in trawlers at risk to life. Speedboat movement is suspended because speedboats do not have proper registration."
Heavy vehicles (passenger and freight) are not being allowed on the Shimulia-Banglabazar ferries until the strong current in the Padma river subsides.
Ferries will be able to operate on the route at half capacity in the meantime.
The decision came a day after a ferry rammed pillar no 10, damaging its pile cap. It was the third such incident in 20 days.