Eid rush at ferry terminals: Hundreds stuck in gridlock
Hundreds of Eid holidaymakers are suffering at ferry terminals as long tailbacks causing them wait for hours.
An insufficient number of ferries, technical failures and growing number of vehicles are the main reasons behind the sufferings, alleged passengers and transport operators.
The major ferry routes in the country are Paturia-Daulatdia, Aircha-Kazirhat, Shimulia-Banglabazar and Shimulia-Majhikandi.
Of them, Paturia and Aricha are in Manikganj whereas Daulatdia, Kazirhat, Shimulia, Banglabazar and Majhikandi are in Rajbari, Pabna, Munshiganj, Madaripur and Shariatpur respectively.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) operates the ferry services on these routes.
As there is almost no coronavirus restriction this time, the tailbacks would be longer than the previous two years, feared the authorities.
Experts estimated around 1.2 crore people would be leaving Dhaka ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
In such a situation, transportation is being hampered on the Jamuna river due to shortage of ferries. Only three ferries ply on Aricha-Kazirhat route.
Around 350 vehicles cross the river using these ferries in regular times. However, the numbers of vehicles doubled, said BIWTC officials.
Sources at BIWTC's Aricha Regional Office said all the three ferries are old and ply at a snail's pace.
In fact, one of the ferries -- Ranikhet -- faced technical failures thrice on Tuesday, they added.
Mahtab Pramanik, a truck driver from Pabna, said, "I arrived at Aricha Ghat at 2:15am Tuesday. I could not get on the ferry till 4:00pm. I don't know when I will be able to board on a ferry."
More than 100 trucks are stuck at Aricha Ghat, he added.
Contacted, BIWTC's Assistant General Manager (Marine) Abdus Sattar said they have a plan of adding another ferry in the fleet to cope with the Eid rush.
On Shimulia-Banglabazar and Shimuli-Majhikandi routes, eight small ferries remain operational.
Only private cars, microbuses and covered vans can board ferries on this route.
BIWTC Chairman Ahmed Shamim Al Razi said two more ferries would be included in the fleet by Friday.
However, a terminal source said these ferries were not enough as seventeen to eighteen ferries used to ply during eid rush in the previous years.
Awlad Hossain, a private car driver who was traveling from Dhaka to Barishal, said, "I reached Shimulia terminal around 4:00am today (yesterday) and I could board ferry after waiting for around five hours."
Contacted, BIWTC's Manager (Commerce) at Shimulia Ghat Jamal Hossain said around 500 vehicles were in the queue yesterday morning.