The plying of launches and speedboats were suspended yesterday on the Shimulia-Kathalbari route due to strong currents in the Padma river.
Around 300 vehicles were stranded on both sides of the river, causing hundreds of passengers to suffer, said witnesses.
Meanwhile, only 14 of the usual 18 ferries operated on the route yesterday, carrying less than their capacity, due to poor navigability, said Khandakar Shah Khaled Newaz, assistant general manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), adding that it took about 20-25 minutes longer than normal for the ferries to make a single trip.
He further said that launch and speedboat services have been suspended since 9:00am yesterday to avert any possible accident. “The next course of action will be taken after observing the river's situation today,” he added.
As launches and speedboats remained inoperable, the passengers had to cross the river on ferries, which added additional pressure, the BIWTC official said.
BIWTA Traffic Inspector Solaiman Hossain said they have hoisted the cautionary signal 1 at the Shimulia terminal.
The air velocity was high, due to which it was too risky for speedboats and launches to ply on rough waters, he said, adding that movement of launches and speedboats will resume once the air velocity and river waves reduce.