Monday, 29 November, 2021

Now launch owners suspend services demanding fare hike

Amid the ongoing nationwide transport strike against fuel price hike, launch owners in Bangladesh have suspended all their services on Saturday demanding that the launch fares be doubled.

On Friday, Bangladesh Launch Owners Association held a meeting and sent a letter to the government for doubling fares from the current one, said vice president of Bangladesh Launch Owners’ Association Bodiuzzaman Badal.

The letter, signed by association president Mahbubuddin Ahmed, said the government set the fares for launch passengers at Tk 1.70 per kilometer in 2014.

In the last few years, the prices of steel and fuels have increased several times but the launch fares remained the same, it said.

The association has long been demanding that the fares be raised, the letter added.

On Wednesday, the government raised the prices of diesel and kerosene to Tk 80 from Tk 65 at the retail level which has forced the association to demand the government double the launch fare and fix it at Tk 3.40 per kilometer, it added.

In the letter, the association sought a reply from the government by Saturday and it suspended the launch services at 3pm today as they “did not get any reply from the government”, said Bodiuzzaman.

“As the owners are no longer interested to operate services incurring losses, we’ve decided to suspend it till the demand is met,” he said.

However, Secretary of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Wakil Newaz said a meeting will be held at 3:30 pm on Sunday with the launch owners association and the ongoing crisis will hopefully end.

Meanwhile, the indefinite nationwide strike enforced by bus owners and transporters entered the second day on Saturday.

On Thursday, Convenor of Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van, Tank Lorry and Prime Movers Owners and Workers Coordination Council Md Rustom Ali announced their decision to go on an indefinite strike, following an emergency meeting.