Several hundred waterways workers on Tuesday urged the government to allow them to resume launch services throughout the country in compliance with health guidelines.
During a demonstration at Sadarghat Launch Terminal in the capital, they also demanded payment of their salary arrears by May 7.They announced that they will stage a protest in front of the headquarters of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority in Dhaka on Wednesday to press their demand.
They have been having a hard time since the services were suspended amid the lockdown period.
In his speech, President of Bangladesh Waterways Workers Federation Md Shah Alam Bhuiyan said, “If our demands are not met, we will go on strike. Those working at cargo vessels will also join us.
“It is possible to maintain health guidelines at launches, buses and trains, because it has all facilities. But the government is not taking the right decision.
Even speedboats are plying defying restrictions and causing fatal accidents on waterways. Only waterways and public transport workers are passing days with utter hardship.”
Shah Alam called upon the government to let them start launch services following rules and regulations.The government imposed lockdown on April 5 in order to stem the surge of Covid-19 infection all over the country.
Though the government has given permission to resume public transport services subject to certain conditions, the ban on waterways and railways services is not lifted yet.