River journey risky for people of 50 coastal islands | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:38 AM, August 18, 2019

River journey risky for people of 50 coastal islands

Locals demand ferry service on the route in Patuakhali’s Galachipa

People of some 50 coastal islands under Char Kazol and Char Biswas unions in Patuakhali’s Galachipa upazila have to take risky journey by small mechanized boats on the Buragourango river between Bodnatali and Charkazol terminals to go to the upazila headquarters and the district town.

To mitigate sufferings of the locals, Bangladesh Inland Water Transportation Corporation (BIWTC) launched a ferry service on the 10-km waterway between Bodnatali and Charkazol launch terminals on March 2 in 2018.

But the service stopped within a month, leaving thousands of people of Char Kazol and Char Biswas unions in utter frustration.

The people living in the remote coastal islands often have to face natural calamities like cyclones and tidal surges.

“We have to cross the Buragourango river amid life risk as we have to go to upazila headquarters and district town for various purposes. In the rainy season the river turns turbulent, making the journey riskier,” said Rahima Begum, a passenger at Bodnatali terminal.

Tofazzal Hossain, chairman of Char Biswas Union Parishad (UP), urged the authorities concerned to resume the ferry service to ensure safe journey for the locals.

Better communication would also help improve the life of the char people, he said.

Char Kazol UP chairman Md Rubel Mollah expressed the same view.

Abul Kalam Azad, deputy director of BIWTC’s Barishal office, said, “Movement of vehicles is a pre-condition for running ferry service but no vehicles cross the route. As per instruction from the higher authorities, we withdrew the ferry from the route.”

Accidents occurred on the route at different times, the worst being the launch capsize on May 15 in 2015, which left at least 80 people killed.

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