Our correspondent from Barisal said thousands of commuters faced severe hardship as water vehicles on Barisal-Dhaka-Barisal Routes in southern region has remained suspended for two days due to wildcat strike enforced by workers.
On Tuesday night MV Farhan-8, MV Sundarban-10, MV Parabat-11, MV Suravi-9 and MV Kirtankhola-2 left Barisal port for Dhaka after law enforcing agencies ensured safety and security of the vessels, said Mustafizur Rahman, Barisal river port officer.
On Wednesday morning MV Parabat-12, MV Tipu-7 and MV Suravi-7 arrived Barisal from Dhaka and left Barisal port for Dhaka at night, the port officer said.
Local offices of the company said although most of cabin passengers boarded on launch duly, but number of deck passengers were not satisfactory due to closure of local connecting routes.
Hundreds of porters, hawkers, makeshift shop owners depend on river port activities deprived from earning their livelihoods due to strike of river transports.
Ekin Ali, acting president of Barisal unit, and joint-convener of Noujan Sramik Federation (water transport workers association), claimed their strike going on successfully and plying of some passenger launches on Barisal-Dhaka route will not affect their movement.
Saidur Rahman Rintu, central vice-president of launch owners association and owner of Sundarban launch fleet, said most of workers of the launches plying on Barisal-Dhaka route enjoying higher scale than demanded by the workers federation.
But locals alleged that mass people, especially in the river isolated areas of southern region, traders and businessmen, daily passengers, patients facing sufferings due to water transport strike.
Operational activities of goods laden cargo vessels has remained halted in the 16 jetties in Chittagong as the workers of the vessels have been refraining from their works yesterday, said our correspondent.
Following the indefinite strike, Chittagong Chambers and Commerce Industry (CCCI) feared severe container and ship congestion at the outer anchorage and Chittagong port, said an official press release of CCCI.
The press release said due to the strike, supply of the industrial goods and raw materials have remained halted.
The CCCI president Mahbubul Alam sought the intervention of Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan to bring an end of the strike.
Water Transport Cell (WTC)’s Joint Secretary Kazi Aatul Kabir Ranju told Dhaka Tribune: “A total of 611 various goods laden lighter vessels are still stranded across the country while loading and unloading of the goods in different ghats in Chittagong and outer anchorage were also halted following the strike.”Nousramik Sangram Parishad’s convener Wazul Islam Bulbul told Dhaka Tribune: “The indefinite strike continued for the second consecutive day throughout the country demanding to increase minimum wages. Bulbul said: “After another wildcat strike throughout the country in April, the government earlier announced new wages chart for the cargo vessels’ workers as per of demands holding a meeting with them.”