The government’s directives on maintaining social distancing and health guidelines are largely being ignored by the passengers and transport operators in Bhola, reports news agency UNB.
Launch owners apparently did not take any step to ensure social distancing and are busy taking advantage of the huge rush of passengers after a two-month shutdown, the government imposed to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The government allowed operation of buses, launches and trains from 31 May on condition that they maintain health guidelines but hardly anyone has been maintaining those.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) sources said vessels are being operated on 34 river routes across the country.
At Bhola’s Ilshaghat, the authorities concerned and people were seen ignoring health guidelines. There was a huge crowd and people were competing to get on the vessel. Many got on top of the roof of the launches.
Some passengers say they are worried about their well-being as launch operators are taking in too many passengers, ignoring the risk of the virus infection.
Several thousand people are using the launch terminal. Passengers said launch owners are collecting extra fare from them.
Mohammad Quamruzzaman, assistant director of Bhola BIWTA, said legal steps will be taken against the launch owners for violating the rules.
The government declared general holidays from 26 March and suspended mass transport to tackle the virus outbreak. The holidays were extended till 30 May in phases.
Recently, the government decided not to extend the shutdown and allow limited operation of public transport and offices from 31 May to 15 June.