• Sunday, May 16, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:05 am

Bhola launch operators ignore health rules

  • Published at 04:21 pm June 3rd, 2020
bhola launch
Passengers inside a Dhaka-Bhola launch during coronavirus pandemic Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) sources said vessels are being operated on 34 river routes across the country

Hundreds of passengers and transport operators in Bhola are showing reluctance to follow the government’s directives on maintaining social distancing and health guidelines and plying overcrowded vehicles to cover the losses they faced during the lockdown.

Launch owners apparently did not take any step to ensure social distancing and are busy taking advantage of the huge rush of passengers after a two-month shutdown aimed at containing the coronavirus outbreak.

The government allowed operation of buses, launches, and trains from May 31 on the condition that they maintain health guidelines but hardly anyone is listening.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) sources said vessels are being operated on 34 river routes across the country.

At Bhola’s Ilshaghat, the authorities concerned and passengers were seen ignoring health guidelines. There was a huge crowd and people were competing to board the vessel. Many got on top of the launch’s roof.

Some passengers say they are worried about their well-being as launch operators are taking in too many people, ignoring the risk of coronavirus infection.

Several thousand people are using the launch terminal. Passengers said launch owners are collecting extra fares from them.

Mohammad Quamruzzaman, assistant director of Bhola BIWTA, said legal steps will be taken against launch owners violating the rules.

The government declared general holidays from March 26 and suspended mass transport to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The holidays were extended until May 30 in phases.

Recently, the government decided not to extend the shutdown and to allow limited operation of public transport and offices from May 31 to June 15.

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