More than half of the launch accidents can be averted if the authorities monitor the vessel operation properly during inclement weather and ban the unfit ones, rights and environmental activists said yesterday.
"About 33 percent of the launch accidents occur due to operation in bad weather and 23 percent happen for faulty designs," Aminur Rasul Babul, member secretary of the Safe Water Way Movement, told a press conference at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
The Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST) and 15 other organisations arranged the conference and demanded legal action against all agencies and officials concerned who showed negligence in protecting waterways.
In a written statement, Mujibul Haque Munir, assistant director (education and food security) of COAST, said the latest launch capsize in Munshiganj, in which 33 people were killed and scores feared dead, was a result of unabated irregularities and mismanagement.
"The formation of investigation commissions followed every accident, but we've got merely any result... About 500 committees were constituted in the last 40 years while only three reports got published. Many committees have not even submitted their reports," he said.
Mujibul demanded an immediate withdrawal of the launches with flawed designs and punishment for the designers and owners.
"Eighty seven lunches operate on Mawa-Kewrakandi route but most of them are 30 to 40 years old and 25 don't have the fitness certificate," he said.
The activists demanded deployment of additional magistrates and police during Eid and Puja rushes and hostile weather conditions when chances of accidents are very high.