Launch operators flout overloading restriction

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Hundreds of passengers reach Chandpur launch terminal ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr on Wednesday. Photo: UNBDefying the restriction on carrying excess passengers before the Eid-ul-Fitr, all the launches on Wednesday arrived in the terminal in Chandpur with passengers almost double of their capacity.

Although a launch has the capacity of carrying 700-800 passengers, most of those were carrying around 2000-3000 passengers, putting the life of the people at risk, reports UNB.

Thousands of passengers were suffering immensely while returning home to enjoy the Eid with their families and dear ones.

Some 15-16 launched reached the terminal from Dhaka till Wednesday evening and all the launches were found overloaded, witnesses said.

'MV Imam Hasan' reached at Chandpur ghat around 9:30am from the capital's Sadarghat with at least 3,000 passengers while some others including 'MV Al-Walid-2', 'MV Green-Line-7' and 'MV Bogdadia-7' were also found overloaded.

There was no place even for standing in some launches while many of the passengers were travelling on the roof, causing suffering to women and children.

Two of the passengers coming from Dhaka -- Imran Hossain and Siam Hossain -- told UNB that most of the launches leaving Sadarghat ahead of their respective schedule following mad rush of people.

When contacted, some representatives of launch owners said a total of 24-25 launches plying on Dhaka-Chandpur route every day as well as launches of other routes also docked in the terminal.

However, Dhaka-bound launches were seen leaving Chandpur terminal with less number of passengers.

When contacted, Shahidul Islam, assistant director of Bangladesh Inland and Water Transport Authority, said, "We are on duty at the terminal to check launches who try to carry excess passengers."

Chandpur launch terminal transport officer Abdur Razzak said, "All the necessary measures have been taken at this terminal for the security of the passenger."

"But, it is the duty of authorities concerned in Dhaka Sadarghat to check that any launch does not leave the terminal with excess passengers," he said adding that they have informed the issue to the higher authorities.

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