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BIWTC suspends ferry crossings on Shimulia-Kathalbari route; 21 districts affected

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By ONLINE DESK
14th-Sep-2020       
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Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation has suspended ferry operations along the Shimulia-Kathalbari water route indefinitely due to poor navigability, putting passengers in trouble.
BIWTC announced the suspension of services on the important waterway on Sunday night.
“People from 21 districts in the southern region have suffered immensely due to the suspension of ferry services. Some of them are crossing the Padma on launches and speedboats by putting their lives at risk,” said Md Shafiqul Islam, assistant general manager of BIWTC.
“Those, who were unaware of the announcement, have returned home after arriving at the dock. Freight truck drivers, however, are still waiting at the dock.”
Meanwhile, the Louhajang Char near the Louhajang turning has disintegrated, resulting in sedimentation in the channel.
“It will not be possible to operate the ferries if the silt is not removed. Operations have been shut down on the advice of BIWTA. The erosion caused by the Padma at dock No. 3 could not be stopped even after dumping sandbags. The dock and its surrounding villages are gradually disappearing. The traders and the residents of the area are panicking,” said Shafiqul.
The crisis has reached a point where even small ferries are unable to operate, he said.
“Shimulia's new dock No. 3 is at risk of being demolished. Various installations have been removed from the area. Only sandbags are being dumped to protect the dock from the strong current of the Padma. It has not been possible yet to open Dock No. 4, which was previously destroyed. The ferries were operating through docks No. 1, 2. Those are closed now.”
Work is underway to fix the channel, said BIWTA Additional Chief Engineer Md Saidul Rahman. Four of the 17 ferries on this route have been diverted. The remaining thirteen are stationary.

Source: bdnews24.com

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