Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | ePaper

Ensure uninterrupted ferry service across Padma

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IT is reported that the ferry services across the Padma continue to be disrupted due to strong currents and poor navigability, affecting both travellers and businesses. Subsequently, there are long tailbacks at ferry terminals on the two major routes -- Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Kathalbari where the situation has been worsening for the last two weeks. Considering the weather of the country, ferry services have become mandatory for road communications with many districts but the government has not paid enough importance on maintenance and modernization of the service.
The ferry services indulge in troubles during the monsoon due to high tides, bad weather, shoals , and poor navigability. Stranded for a few days, truckers said long delays will affect shipping costs of goods and rot perishable items, resulting in a huge loss in business.
Hundreds of trucks with goods remain in long lines on both sides of Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Kathalbari. In Paturia, ferries of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation are taking twice the time needed to cross the river. Two of the six jetties at the Daulatdia terminal are inaccessible as the authorities have been dredging the river to improve navigability. It has also slowed down the loading and unloading processes. Some old ferries frequently got stuck while going upstream and needed tugging.
The monsoons are no surprise for us and preparedness could have mitigated much of the effects of such natural disasters for which we really should be ready. Instead of blaming each other, the authorities responsible -- the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) -- should cooperate and coordinate in their efforts to avoid such crisis in the future.

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