After 18 people drowned in a recent trawler capsize in Netrakona's Madan upazila, the local administration asked leaseholder of Uchitpur Trawler Ghat and trawler owners to arrange for mandatory life jackets for all passengers.
On August 5, 48 people were on the trawler that capsized, enjoying a post-Eid get-together programme. The victims were mainly teachers, students and guardians from villages in Char Sirta union of Mymensingh Sadar upazila.
Following the capsize, fire service and civil defence divers rushed to the spot and recovered the bodies, says Sub-Inspector of Madan Police Station Shamsul Islam.
At least 30 people managed to swim ashore, the police official added.
The ferry-ghat leaseholder and trawler owners have been asked to arrange for life jackets and round-tubes within a week, said Bulbul Ahmed, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) in Madan.
Additionally, the ferry-ghat authority was directed to carry maximum 25 passengers in large trawlers at a time during monsoon, and small trawlers will not be used during this time, said the UNO.
If the directives are not followed, stern action will be taken against the leaseholder and trawler owners, he warned.
Talking to this correspondent, leaseholder Khairul Bashar Akanda said the they have so far arranged 50 life jackets and 200 round-tubes for boatmen and passengers.
Generally, hundreds travel through the ghat for different haor destinations in Netrakona, Kishoreganj and Sunamganj. But now, the rush of passengers has lessened since the accident, Bashar said.
However, urging proper protection for passengers -- Netrakona Shikkha, Sangskrit, Paribesh O Boichitra Rokhha Committee -- a social and environmental organisation, and Madan Press Club jointly formed a human chain at Uchitpur Ferry Ghat yesterday.
"We pressed a five-point demand that included ensuring lifesaving materials for all passengers and recognition of Uchitpur Tourist Spot following necessary government guidelines," said Prof Md Nazmul Karim Sarker, president of Rokkha Committee.
Meanwhile, Netrakona district administration formed a four-member probe committee, headed by Madan UNO, to investigate the accident. The committee was asked to submit a report within seven working days.