Ferry services suspended to contain spread of Covid

Dhaka, May 8:  Amid a mad rush of home-bound people ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Banglabazar routes have been suspended to curb the spread of Covid-19. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) said the decision to suspend ferry services on the two busy water routes, with effect from Saturday morning, was taken in the wake of the ongoing second wave of coronavirus.
However, vessels carrying patients and goods will be allowed to cross the rivers, said BIWTC public relations officer Nazrul Islam.
“Despite the suspension of speedboat and launch operations, thousands of home-bound people were seen crossing rivers on private vessels ignoring all health protocols.
“Following the directives of the government to stem the spread of Covid-19, BIWTC has suspended the ferry services. However, the goods-laden vessels can cross the rivers at night,” said Nazrul.
The sudden suspension of ferry services has caused immense sufferings to home-bound people ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. Those who hired small vessels to go to their native villages to celebrate Eid with their families have been hit hard.
Mohammad Khorshed Alam, assistant manager of BIWTC at Daulatdia port, said that ferry services were suspended as per the orders of the Shipping Ministry. “In case of an emergency, we can operate one or two ferries for crossing the river.”
In fact, huge pressure of vehicles and passengers was witnessed on the Daulatdia-Paturia route in the past couple of days, especially on Friday, as people were heading homes, taking advantage of the two-day government holiday.
Mohammad Zillur Rahman of BIWTC, said, “The decision has been taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” reports UNB.