Passenger vessels have resumed running on river routes on Thursday morning after three weeks as the government eased the lockdown curbs for a week ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
Shipping authorities and river vessel owners claim they are maintaining health protocols strictly.On Wednesday, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury visited Sadarghat Launch Terminal and asked the authorities to ensure that all passengers comply with Covid-safety protocols.
“Everyone should follow health safety guidelines and those found without a mask will be fined,” he had said.
Khalid had also urged the launch owners and officials of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) to remain alert in view of the worsening Covid situation in the country.
On July 13, the Bangladesh government decided to ease all lockdown restrictions in the country for eight days ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
In a notification on Tuesday morning, the cabinet division said that the lockdown restrictions would be lifted from July 14 midnight to the morning of July 23.
However, strict restrictions will resume from July 23 and will continue till August 5, as per the order.A record rise in the number of Covid cases and fatalities in recent days prompted the government to enforce a nationwide stringent lockdown.
All modes of public transport, including the road, river, rail and air, remained suspended during the lockdown.
On June 22, the authorities suspended the movement of all passenger vessels in Narayanganj, Gazipur, Munshiganj, Manikganj, Madaripur, Rajbari and Gopalganj to curb the spread of Covid in these districts.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) announced its decision to suspend the movement of launches, speed boats and trawlers on June 21, following the Cabinet Division’s circular on the imposition of lockdown in these seven districts.
However, the restrictions won't apply on the movement of cargo vessels and emergency services. And legal action will be taken against violators, according to the BIWTA notification.