Sadarghat launch accident: Civil society demands a judicial inquiry


Staff Reporter :
Nirapad Naupath Bastobayan Jote (Safer Waterway Implementation Alliance) on Monday demanded of the government a judicial investigation and punishment of those responsible for the deaths of five innocent people in the Sadarghat launch accident on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

On April 12, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) filed a case in connection with the collision of three launches at Sadarghat that killed five people.

BIWTA Joint Director Ismail Hossain filed the case as the plaintiff, accusing five people.

However, the leaders of the Nirapad Naupath Bastobayan Jote believed that the deaths of five people were nothing but the result of the negligence and reckless behaviour of some people.

Although there was not enough space between the moored launches, another launch recklessly tried to enter the pontoon in between two launches forcefully.

At this time, one of the ropes mooring the launch shattered and thrashed the five passengers waiting on the pontoon, who died on the spot.
During Eid and other festive days, there is always extra pressure on the jetties.

The alliance leaders call for an end to such undesirable instances in the waterways of Bangladesh.


They raised the following demands for safe and secured waterways in Bangladesh:

As per their demands are—a high court judge should lead the investigation committee, the committee should also have experts and representatives of affected family members, reports of all past investigation committees to be published immediately, adequate police force must be deployed under the Marine Magistrate Court, launch owners must ensure insurance for all passengers and ensure a passenger list before departure of every trip, all those responsible for the accident should be brought under exemplary punishment, additional inspectors and police force should be deployed at the jetty during Eid, Puja and other festivals and maximum compensation must be given to the families of those who died in the launch immediately.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, chief coordinator of the alliance, said that waterways in Bangladesh are the most cost-effective and safe.

“We want the government to give utmost importance to securing this cost-effective waterway for transporting people and goods,” he said.

Since 2003, this alliance has been agitating to make Bangladesh waterways safe, and they have regularly made these demands.

On July 8, 2003, the MV Nasreen sank, resulting in the loss of many lives.
Almost 15 years after this incident, the alliance has presented various recommendations to implement safer waterways every year.

In 2006, the alliance published research outlining the root causes of maritime accidents and recommendations for remedial measures.