People of 4 dists suffer as two ferries lie idle
Thousands of passengers of Jhenidah, Magura, Rajbari and Kushtia districts cross the mighty Gorai River on country boats amid risk as two ferries have been lying idle at Langalbandh Bazar terminal in Shailkupa upazila under Jhenidah district for the last six years.
The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) sent two ferries with two ferry bridges and two pontoons for plying from Langalbandh Bazar to the other side of the Gorai River in Sripur upazila under Magura district and posted a driver and a khalasi there about six years ago but they are yet to see any regular service across the river, locals said.
The ferries, supposed to carry vehicles including buses and trucks and people from and to Jhenidah, Magura, Rajbarai, Faridpur, Kushtia and Dhaka would greatly ease road communications in the areas, said businessmen and public representatives.
"Five to six thousand people daily cross the river on boats with life risk. The number of passengers rises to 15 thousand to 20 thousand on weekly market days Sunday and Thursday," said local trader Bikash Mondol.
"We have to cross the river regularly amid risk to attend our classes while two ferries are lying idle at the terminal for years,” said Bithika Rani, a student of Langalbandh Degree College.
Around three months ago, one of the ferries functioned for three days, carrying thousands of people and a good number of vehicles across the river, but suddenly the service was stopped due to unknown reasons, said a few locals.
Contacted, Subrata Datta, executive engineer of RHD in Magura, said they could not start the ferry service as the ministry concerned did not approve plying of the two ferries and fix toll rates for the purpose.
The ferries, ferry bridges and pontoons worth Tk 60 to 65 crore are getting damaged as they are lying without maintenance for years, sources said, adding that some vested quarters are responsible for the situation.