The Shipping Ministry has called upon all the authorities concerned to take necessary steps in a coordinated and disciplined manner in a bid to ensure safe journey of holidaymakers ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha.
The ministry came up with a number of directives and recommendations at a coordination meeting today at Bidyut Bhaban in Dhaka with State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury in the chair.
Referring to the rise of water level in the rivers and possibility of obstacles for the river transports while plying, the state minister said, “Since the navigability of the rivers increased this year, I call upon all concerned officials to take caution to ensure safety of Eid holidaymakers.”
He also called upon all concerned authorities, including Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and Coast Guards, among others, to give utmost importance to ensuring security and convenience of the passengers and bring discipline in plying of water transports in the river routes of the country.
The ministry also called upon concerned authorities to bring discipline in the plying of tankers, launches, and coaster barges on river routes.
The directives and recommendations made at the meeting are:
-- Stern steps will be taken against launch owners if they charge extra fare to the passengers. All crew members of launches must be on board before taking in passengers. No launch would be allowed to ply if it is overloaded with passengers or goods.
-- Deployment of patrol police forces to prevent incidents of mugging, extortion and harassment of passengers and workers, and of Coast Guard personnel so that passengers on boats cannot get on board launches in the mid-river.
-- Vigilance teams will be deployed by the local administrations in the terminal areas to ensure safety of passengers.
-- Keeping the road from Sadarghat Terminal to Bahadur Shah Park in the capital free of hawkers and traffic congestion for ease of movement of passengers ahead of Eid.
-- Bus, minibus, and auto-rickshaws would have to be parked at designated place instead of being randomly parked from Sadarghat terminal to Jagannath University premises.
-- Halting operation of cargo ships and sand-laden bulkheads at night, and suspension on plying of bulkheads between August 9-15.
-- All trucks, except those carrying sacrificial animals, and all covered vans will be stopped from using the ferries three days before and three days after the Eid.
-- No speedboats would be allowed to operate at night. In the day, those must provide lifejackets to ensure safety of passengers while travelling.
-- Four wreckers will have to be deployed for the four ferry terminals at Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Kathalbari.
-- All fishing nets on the river routes will have to be removed for smooth passage of the launches and other modes of water transport.
-- The passengers on the cabins of launches would have to show their National ID/photo ID and give their NID numbers/ mobile numbers to get on board.
-- All river transports should carry sufficient lifebuoys and ensure lights and markings while plying the river routes.
-- Keeping a large plastic container/ bouy tied with 200-300 feet long rope on the roof of river transports/ launches/ ships so that their location could be identified in case of capsize.
-- Placing sufficient waste-bins at the terminals for proper disposal of wastes and maintaining cleanliness, while discouraging people not to throw litter around.