Stop plying faulty vessels
We are used to hearing assurances offered by the operators of various transport services as well as the relevant authorities in the administration that faulty vessels would not be allowed to run, particularly during the Eid holidays. Regrettably, these are mere catchwords that are never fulfilled. As a report yesterday in this paper exposed, unscrupulous operators are at work to spruce up decrepit and rickety vessels to ply them during the forthcoming Eid holidays.
This has been a regular feature not only for the river vessels but also for private sector road transport where vehicles of all descriptions and denominations are put on the road to cater to the huge rush of people making for their homes, out of their workplace, from all over the country during the religious holidays. And a sad feature of every Eid holiday is the series of reports of accidents on the rivers and roads that take the lives of a large number of passengers.
We call upon the authorities to exercise the strictest vigilance to firstly, break the nexus between the corrupt BIWTA traffic inspectors and unprincipled owners and, secondly, to make examples of anyone breaking the rules in giving fitness certificates. But of equal importance is to bring under the scanner the large number of vessels that are not registered; the figure reportedly is more than ten times the registered vessels, but which nonetheless go about their business, mostly in connivance of the corrupt BIWTA officials. Profit motive must never be allowed to overrule the safety of the passengers.