• Tuesday, Jun 25, 2019
  • Last Update : 09:14 am

Making safety a priority on our waterways

  • Published at 12:00 am May 26th, 2019
Boat
Photo: DHAKA TRIBUNE

It is the responsibility of the boat operators to ensure that risks are not taken

Time and again, launch disasters have resulted in the ultimately death of Bangladeshis -- with Eid season being a particularly precarious time, as water transportation tends to be overcrowded with holidaymakers.

We are a nation of rivers, and as such it is only natural that we are heavily dependent on water-bodies for travel; but for too long the authorities have neglected to prioritize on safety, counting profits instead.

It is only when a disaster happens, when innocent people lose their lives in a capsize, that we are reminded of the need for safety.

But let us not wait until it is too late; let us not wait for more people to die before we make the necessary changes.

Eid-ul-Fitr is just around the corner, and it goes without saying that the mad rush of people to go to their hometowns to spend with their families will result in overbooked vessels on the waterways.

But, regardless of the demand, it is the responsibility of the boat operators to ensure that risks are not taken by overloading their vessels; furthermore, unsafe launches, or ones that have not undergone maintenance in a long time, should not be allowed to traverse the waters.

All possible safety measures should be taken, and these should be enforced by the authorities: Vessels must be equipped with life jackets, buoys, and fire-fighting equipment, as well as GPS systems and echo sounders.

In the event of accidents due to negligence, operators need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Thousands upon thousands of lives have been lost to disasters in the waterways in the history of Bangladesh -- it is time we did the needful to stop these senseless tragedies from happening every year.