Birshrestho Mostafa Kamal Launch Terminal in Daulatkhan upazila under Bhola district remains in an awful condition. PHOTO: STAR
Birshreshtho Mostafa Kamal Launch Terminal in Daulatkhan upazila under the district is in dire need of repair as around 1500 passengers daily use it for going to and from different areas including Dkaka and Noakhali.
Three Dhaka-bound launches, a Noakhali-bound sea truck and several trawlers come to the terminal every day.
Visiting the spot last week, this correspondent saw around 40 passengers waiting for Dhaka-bound launch MV Farhan-3 at 5:00pm.
In absence of any sitting arrangement and toilet, the waiting passengers, especially women and children have to undergo untold sufferings.
Each passenger has to pay Tk 5 for entry to the pontoon.
The pontoon was floated to the middle of the Meghna River after its ropes were torn due to a squall on August 9.
The day after, it was brought back to the bank and tied up temporarily.
Passengers cross a risky wood and bamboo structure to enter the pontoon. PHOTO: STAR
The muddy road connecting the pontoon is in a bad condition, making entrance of vehicles impossible.
Passengers and labourers have to walk on a narrow bridge made of bamboo and wood to enter the pontoon.
Bilkis Begum carrying a three-year-old child in her lap was seen too cautious while crossing the bridge to enter the pontoon.
"Even after entering the pontoon, we are passing worrying time as it may go to the mid-river anytime," said Rizia Begum, another passenger.
Motahar Hossian, a day labourer who carries luggage of passengers at the terminal, said it is too risky to walk on the narrow wooden stairway, especially while carrying goods.
For years, Local Government Engineering Departent, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and Water Development Board did not do necessary works for the terminal, said stakeholders.
Mahabubur Rahman, lessee of the terminal, said, "We had to pay over Tk 22 lakh for yearly lease but the authorities did not take action to protect the pontoon and make an approach road. We have to maintain things temporarily with the help of labourers and local shop owners."
Md Nasim, traffic officer of BIWTA, said they informed the higher authorities about the condition of this terminal.
Mostafizur Rahman, upazila nirbahi officer of Daulatkhan, said he wrote to LGED, WDB and BIWTA authorities about the problem.