Launch terminal disorder
HOW insensitive public or private service operators touching the lives of ordinary citizens can get to the pressing public need for mobility on the waterways was starkly demonstrated in and around Sadarghat terminal on Thursday. At that premier inland transportation hub such a massive impediment was placed to the movement of incoming and outgoing passengers by feuding groups claiming control over the labour handling business that it led to a five-hour standstill in river traffic. As many as 200 launches could neither anchor nor depart from the terminal causing enormous loss to business and of man hour.
What triggered the spate of mayhem was that the existing lessee of the terminal as far as handling the labourers went, was badly enraged by a new contractor having submitted an offer with the BIWTA for a fresh lease in response to a tender floated by the inland water authority. The original lessee whose term had expired sought extension of the contract which having been refused, he went to court to get an injunction. Subsequently, on the vacation of the injunction by the court the BIWTA was obviously within its right to invite tenders in response to which a contractor dropped an offer with the authority. Other contractors were entitled to do the same. Thus the process was in a preliminary stage; yet, out of sheer desperation, the original lessee and his men reacted provoking a clash with the new aspirant and his supporters.
We would have thought that the BIWTA ground staff must have had the initial information of what was coming, so that they could have tipped off the headquarters and also the police authority for timely intervention to preempt the clashes and the river traffic standstill that followed. The mobile part of law enforcement authorities including their human intelligence outfits should synchronise their activities in such a way that they are able to preempt a trouble that is brewing with speed and effectiveness. Major public service arenas should be constantly on their radar screen.
On the specific incident of public service disruption, we demand a thorough inquiry leading to fixing responsibility and punishing the guilty. If such criminal offences pass off without punishment, it is an indulgent add-on to the culture of impunity.