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Illegal boat movement halted in Bahadurabad-Balasi terminal


Published : 08 Aug 2022 01:08 AM | Updated : 08 Aug 2022 02:01 PM

Passenger harassment has reached its peak at the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Bahadurabad-Balasighat launch terminal.  Sohanur Rahman, the influential lessee of the two ghats, has syndicated passengers with a launch fee of 200 taka, and is illegally crossing with engine-driven boats, showing various scare excuses.  

As a result, under the influence of the lessee Sohanur, the passengers are forced to wade through the Yamuna river full of risk to their lives instead of the authorized launch.  Passengers complain that boat capsizing in the river can cause loss of life at any time. Following the complaint of Bangladesh Launch Owners Association, the BIWTA authorities have ordered to stop the movement of boats with illegal engines on July 31.  In order to facilitate travel from the capital Dhaka to North Bengal in 1938, the then British government launched Bahadurabad Ghat in Dewanganj, Jamalpur district and Tistamukh Ghat in Fulchhari, Gaibanda district under the Assam Bengal Railway.  As a result, in 1989 Bahadurabad ghat in Kulkandi union of Islampur upazila and Tistamukh ghat in Phulchari were removed and shifted to Balasi ghat and the railway service was continued till 2004.  Later in 2005, on July 14, when railway trains began to travel over the Bangabandhu Bridge, the then BNP government stopped the ferry service completely.  

As a result, the transportation system of 13 districts of North Bengal with Greater Mymensingh was stopped. At that time, as the ferry service was closed, engine-driven boats were the only means of goods supply and passenger crossing with Greater Mymensingh.  At that time, every year during the full monsoon season, passengers risked their lives to cross the river Yamuna, and many people died when their boats capsized due to the swirling currents.Even from crossing the river, there were constant incidents of boat robbery in the afternoon.Therefore, the communication minister of the current government, General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League Obaidul Quader, after two rounds of inspection of Akusthal, taking into consideration the safety of passengers, spent about 136 crore rupees, along with the removal of the ancillary facilities on both sides of Drishtinandan Farighat, dredging the waterway from Bahadurabad Ghat to Balasi Ghat in Phulchhari through BIWTA.  Made it navigable.  In his continuation, on 9th April/2022, the Minister of State for Shipping officially inaugurated the new launch service on the Yamuna waterway.  

At present, BIWTA is running 6 services in favor of 6 launches with route permits and timetables issued. But the influential Sohanur Rahman of the ghat has been illegally crossing passengers with engine-driven boats and has been creating obstacles in the movement of legitimately approved passenger launches.  The launch owners, including BIWTS, complained that the vessels had no registration, survey certificate, route permit, even schedule and were completely illegal.  Therefore, considering the safety of passengers, the director of marine safety and traffic management department, Muhammad Rafiqul Islam, has ordered the local administration to stop the illegal boat movement.  In this regard, Dewanganj Upazila Resident Officer Kamrun Nahar Shefa and Phulchari Upazila Resident Resident Officer Mohammad Alauddin.He said, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has received a letter of direction.  Necessary action will be taken as per BIWTA instructions immediately.