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Wednesday, February 21, 2018 07:06:22 PM
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Passengers owes at Padma ferry ghats

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THOUSANDS of Eid holiday-makers from 17 southwestern districts remained stranded and suffering a lot while waiting to cross the Padma as the ferry service on Daulatdia-Paturia route is remained paralyzed due to strong currents.

Commuters suffering knows no bound also at Mawa-Kathalbari ferry ghat where only four small ferry boats are operating out of 19 because of faulty navigation channels. At many places shoals have emerged in the riverbeds causing impediments to uninterrupted movement of ferry services. 

The situation is critical as women and children are facing terrible time waiting for the bus carrying them to cross the river to start Dhaka bound journey again. The Eid celebration has turned sour at the riverbanks. 

Local BIWTC officials on the spots are of no help to the people languishing against odds and in fact they have hardly anything to do if prior arrangements were not made to face such situation. They are paid from taxpayers' money but what service they give is not clear. Our government only talks of big development but its inefficiency to operate ferry services in difficult situation shows its incompetence. It has left people exposed to rain and heat.

At Daulatdia-Paturia route people are waiting around four to five hours to get on a ferry. Over 500 vehicles, including buses and cars, were reportedly waiting for ferry services on Tuesday morning, creating 5-6km tailbacks on Daulatdia side of the river. More than 400 vehicles were stuck on both sides of Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry route. Ferries are taking twice the time in each trip due to strong currents, said official at Daulatdia office of BIWTC.

The ferry service on the route is reportedly hampered as water level of the Padma is dropping since August 31 and question arises if shoal and poor navigability is blocking ferry services during full monsoon season how it will operate in the dry season? The other question is why can't our government do things proactively before passengers face such problems. The fact is that our government has left the fate of the people to the vagaries of nature and whatever the government leaders say before cameras asking officials to repair roads and highways overnight is nothing but just eyewash to the nation.    

People of the northwestern districts have nothing to hope better until the commissioning of the Padma Bridge, expected to open by early 2019. The suffering that cost people several hours waiting for river crossing and so many lives lost in boat capsize will then end over several minutes drive. The dream project can only mitigate people's owes.   

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