Sunday, 5 December, 2021

Ensure safe roads and waterways

Ensure safe roads and waterways

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We have heard of ferries capsizing before due to accidentally being hit by a ship or big boat passing by. But the incident of Wednesday’s ferry capsize has never been seen before in Bangladesh. And we pray that it never happens again. But only prayers cannot help us if we do not lift our fingers to help ourselves. Luckily no casualty happened as none of the vehicles were passenger carriers. But luck will not be always on our side if we continue to be this careless.

Just because no life was lost in this capsize does not mean that there was no loss at all to the country’s economy. Though we do not yet know the value of the goods that were submerged, possibly irretrievably, losing goods which were being sent on trans-country bound trucks must be a great loss for the individual people or companies, and any loss faced by an individual person or company of a country is a macro economic loss for the country.

Gross negligence of the authorities is to be blamed for allowing a faulty vessel to perform ferry duty on one of the major lifelines of Bangladesh on the highway crossing the mighty River Padma. During the crossing, water filled up fast in the hull of the ferry through a hole. It capsized on reaching the ferry-terminal after some of the trucks on it offloaded. The vessel first gradually tilted to one side and then capsized very fast before anything could be done.

For a country full of rivers, it is surprising that Bangladesh lacks good quality water vessels for utilising the vast network of rivers and canals spread like a spider’s web all over the plains of our beautiful land. Furthermore, the least one can expect is that no faulty water vessels would be used for ferrying vehicles across the mighty rivers that exist in all our cross-country highways.

Trucks, lorries and covered vans carrying containers, goods and people are traversing the land from one corner to another every day keeping the economy thriving. What happened this time should never be allowed to repeat. Roads and highways, including the waterways, should be safe for travelling within the country. No faulty vehicles - on roads or water - should be allowed to ply putting the lives of people at risk.