Monday, June 24, 2024

Launch journey gets riskier

Battered highways force more passengers to choose waterways; hurriedly patched-up faulty launches ready to ply before Eid
Rundown highways have increased safety risk for water transport passengers too, as the number of people using riverine routes for Eid travel may shoot up this year, increasing the chance of overloading of vessels.
Around 10 to 12 lakh people leave Dhaka in the seven days before Eid by launches through Sadarghat, the biggest launch terminal sending vessels out to over 50 destinations in the southern parts of the country every year.
This year the number is likely to shoot up. With the rivers full to the brim with monsoon water, the size of crowds at the terminal for launch tickets has increased as buses are unable to operate at some places and taking too long to reach destinations due to rundown condition of roads.
Sadarghat launch terminal is now full of newly painted vessels waiting to overload as usual up to double or triple their capacities to transport homebound passengers. Some of those are not even fit at all, said some launch repair workers who did not want to be identified.
Authorities of at least 50 faulty vessels received notices for repair in the last one month, said Shadat Hossain, a vessel surveyor of the Department of Shipping, claiming of increased vigilance ahead of Eid.
“Engines and hulls of many were faulty. I already issued notices to those for stopping operations until made fit,” Shadat said.
Shipping department sources said MV Koko-2, Tipu-1, MV Panama, MV Mitali-2, Shuvoraj-2, Rajhangsha, Red Sun-2, Suresshor-2, MV New Sun, Dipraj-2 and MV Saikat-9 are among the faulty vessels which were served notices.
In reality, many of the faulty vessels had hurried patch-up jobs and new coats of paint instead of thorough repair before they queued at the passenger terminal for trips, according to the repair workers.
Launch owners operate unfit launches in collusion with officials of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), and the shipping department (DOS) abusing the Inland Shipping Ordinance (ISO)-1976, said a terminal source.
The ordinance allows a ship surveyor to issue a “token approval for operation” for 45 days to a launch without an inspection, during which time the vessel has to be repaired.
“Availing the opportunity, some faulty vessels keep on operating for years without repair and get into accidents,” said a source.
MV Bipasha that sank in Brahmanbaria on April 21, ML Nurussunnah that sank on December 3 last year in Kishoreganj, and MV Prince which sank in Patuakhali on April 15 in 2005 all operated using token approvals over and over again.
In previous years, many unfit and unregistered vessels operated ahead of Eid, many causing serious accidents.
A report of Safe Waterway Implementation Movement, a non-government organisation, published last year says capsizal of such overloaded faulty vessels killed over 6,000 passengers in 535 accidents in the last two decades.
BIWTA officials said a vessel can carry 800 to 1,500 passengers on an average. During Eid, each vessel carries two and half to three times of the capacity.
Talking about monitoring, shipping department’s Shadat Hossain expressed his helplessness.
“People don’t care whether the vessels are overloaded or not. We can fine a launch authority, but can’t force the passengers to get off a launch, because that might create a confrontational situation,” he said.
Another shipping department source said if they suspend a vessel’s operation, the owner goes to BIWTA and gets trip schedule nonetheless through “managing” some officials, moor the faulty vessel at the terminal and load passengers. “Once passengers are loaded on a vessel, we can’t do much in fear of a clash,” he said.
Forty to 50 vessels operate everyday from Dhaka to different destinations, the number goes up to 110 to 120 during the last three days before Eid, said a BIWTA official.
Normally, a launch plies once in every three or four days due to a rotation system. But during Eid periods, the launches ply non-stop increasing the number of trips, he added.
Over 20,000 unregistered passenger and cargo vessels ply different routes across the country, a DOS source said.
Over 6,500 are registered with the department, DOS Chief Engineer AKM Fakhrul Islam said.
“We will deploy additional police force and coast guard members ahead of Eid to check plying of unfit vessels and to stop overloading,” said Commodore Jobair Ahmad, DOS director general.

-With The Daily Star input

Related News

Over 1.04 crore animals sacrificed on Eid-ul-Adha this year

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A total of 1,04,08,918 animals were sacrificed across the country on the occasion of the holy Eid-ul-Azha this year. As many as 3, 67, 106 more animals were slaughtered this year compared to previous year, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock said in a press release on Tuesday. This year the ... Read more

9am-5pm office time to resume from Wednesday

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The public offices across Bangladesh are set to go back to old office timing from 9:00am to 5:00pm with Fridays and Saturdays being the weekly holidays as usual from Wednesday. The cabinet in its weekly meeting on June 3 decided restoring the old office timing between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays ... Read more

5 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A magnitude 5 earthquake jolted a large part of the country on Sunday (2 June) afternoon., including Dhaka. The quake struck at 2:44pm from a depth of about 110km, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, and was centred in the Mawlaik area of Myanmar, 441 km southeast of Dhaka. The quake ... Read more

Over 2cr to be fed as daylong Vitamin ‘A’ plus campaign begins

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The National Vitamin A-plus campaign is being conducted with a target to feed the capsules to over 2.22 crore children, aged between six months and 59 months. The campaign started at 8am on Saturday (June 1) and will continue till 4pm. Feeding Vitamin A capsules prevents blindness in children, ensures normal ... Read more

Postponed notice fake, HSC exams on June 30 as per schedule

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent exams will be held on time as per previous announcement, beginning on 30 June. The routine deferring the exams for a month that is making rounds in social media, is fake, the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka said on Saturday. A circular ... Read more

3 month-long ban on fishing, tourism in Sundarbans begins

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The forest department has imposed this three-month ban on fishing and tourism in the Sundarbans. Local communities, including fishermen, wood and honey collectors, who depend on the Sundarbans for their livelihoods, are concerned about a three-month ban on all activities in the forest starting Saturday. The restriction applies to visitors, including ... Read more

Appellate Division upholds HC verdict on DU teacher Samia’s demotion

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Appellate Division today (26 May) upheld the judgement of the High Court which declared illegal the demotion order of Dhaka University faculty Samia Rahman on charges of plagiarism. A four-member appellate bench headed by senior judge M Enayetur Rahim of the Appellate Division rejected the appeal of DU as invalid. ... Read more

3.2 million children at risk as Cyclone Remal hits Bangladesh coasts: UNICEF

News Desk : dhakamirror.com As Cyclone Remal hit the coastal areas of Bangladesh, over 8.4 million people, including 3.2 million children, are at high health, nutrition, sanitation, and safety risks, according to UNICEF. ‘Our thoughts go out to the children and their families at this critical moment as they endure the storm’s impact,’ said UNICEF ... Read more

Classes suspended at coastal area schools due to cyclone

News Desk : dhakamirror.com No classes will be held at schools in the coastal areas due to Cyclone Remal, said State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mohibur Rahman. He said this after a meeting of the inter-ministerial disaster management coordination committee at the Secretariat on Sunday. According to a bulletin of the Met Office, ... Read more

Cyclone Remal forms over Bay, signal 7 at Payra and Mongla

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The deep depression over the east and west central Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclonic storm “Remal” at around 9:00 pm today and is expected to hit the country’s coasts between 6pm and 11:59pm tomorrow, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). The Met Office asked the Payra and Mongla ... Read more

Admissions for Class XI start tomorrow

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The first phase of applications for Class XI admission for the 2024–2025 academic year will begin tomorrow, May 26, and run through June 11th. According to the XI class admission circular 2024-25, the online application system is divided into three phases with designated application windows, result announcements, and confirmation periods. Students ... Read more

Exam will not be postponed for Cyclone Remal: NU

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The National University has decided not to postpone the Introduction to Government Policy exam for 4th-year Political Science honours students for the academic year 2022, despite the warning for the approaching Cyclone Remal. The exam is scheduled to be held on Sunday (26 May) at 1:00pm, the same day that the ... Read more

Gold price cut by Tk 1,084 per bhori

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The prices of gold in the country’s local market witnessed a fall on Thursday as the Bangladesh Jewellers’ Association (Bajus) slashed the price of 22-carat gold by Tk 1,084 per bhori (11.664 grammes). The new rate for the precious metal will come into effect on Friday, BAJUS said in a press ... Read more

Don’t pay anyone for visas, or work permits: Italian envoy

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Antonio Alessandro, advised visa-seekers not to pay anyone for visas, emphasising that the embassy only charges small taxes and processing fees. “Our services are free except for these official fees,” he said today (21 May) following a meeting with Shofiqur Rahman Choudhury, the State Minister for Expatriates’ ... Read more

Bangladeshi mountaineer Babar Ali conquers Everest

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Babar Ali from Chattogram has summited Mount Everest and raised the red and green flag on the world’s highest peak. He reached the summit at 8:30am local time (8:45am Bangladesh time) on Sunday, proudly raising the red and green flag of Bangladesh. He began his journey on 1 April, after necessary ... Read more

Price of gold increases by Tk1,178 per bhori

The new rate will be effective from Sunday (19 May) News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Jewellers Association (Bajus) today (18 May) increased the price of gold by Tk1,178 per bhori, followed by a price hike in the local bullion market. According to a Bajus statement, 22-carat gold will now cost Tk1,18,460 per bhori (11.664 ... Read more

9 Bangladeshis named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Nine Bangladeshis have been named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list for their contributions across various industries. Forbes announced its prestigious “30 Under 30 Asia” list for the ninth consecutive year yesterday (15 May), showcasing 300 exceptional young individuals under the age of 30 who are making significant strides across ... Read more

SC Stays HC Verdict On Condemn Cell

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Appellate Division on Wednesday stayed a High Court verdict that asked the jail authorities not to put death sentence inmates in the solidarity confinement before the end of all legal processes. The Appellate Division judge in chamber, Justice M Enayetur Rahim, granted the stay after hearing an appeal filed by ... Read more

BRTA to take ‘no helmet, no fuel’ policy for bikers

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Besides, no battery-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to operate in Dhaka The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has decided to take a “no helmet, no fuel” approach for motorcycle riders across the country. Besides, no battery-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to operate in Dhaka, according to decisions taken at a meeting ... Read more

MV Abdullah finally arrives at Ctg port

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The 23 crew members of Bangladeshi flag carrier MV Abdullah, which was recently freed from the captivity of Somali pirates, has reached the Chittagong Port today (14 May). The Chittagong Port Authority has a reception at the New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT) to welcome back the sailors. Their family members are ... Read more