• Thursday, Nov 21, 2019
  • Last Update : 10:52 am

Making our waterways safe

  • Published at 12:02 am June 23rd, 2019
Launch
Photo: MEHEDI HASAN

Boat operators cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to play with people’s lives

Few things are as shockingly tragic as the untimely death of children, but on Thursday, a brother and sister, aged 12 and five respectively, perished in the waters of the Buriganga, after their boat capsized.

Sadly, this is an all-too-familiar story, because it is common knowledge that water transportation in Bangladesh falls woefully short when it comes to safety regulations.

Bangladesh, of all nations, should be relying on safe, convenient, and efficient river transportation, because we are, after all, a nation of rivers -- this makes it all the more tragic that even now, launch safety has not been prioritized by the authorities.

It is only when a disaster happens, such as the death of two innocent children, that people are reminded of the need for more stringent measures.

Boat operators cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to play with people’s lives; it is their solemn responsibility to ensure that vessels are never overloaded, and that no vessel going out into the river is lacking in maintenance, or is susceptible to easily capsizing.

Furthermore, all vessels need to be equipped with life-jackets, buoys, firefighting equipment, GPS systems, and echo sounders.

When accidents do happen due to negligence on part of the operators, punishment needs to be doled out to the fullest extent of the law.

Thousands upon thousands of lives in our country have been lost in our waterways, so much so that many have gotten desensitized to the phenomenon, passively accepting that nothing can be done.

This attitude needs to change, and the authorities need to wake up -- safety on our waterways is not a luxury, it is a necessity.