Sufferings of passengers and transport workers using the Paturia-Daulatdia river channel have intensified due to a ferry crisis following the capsize of ‘Shah Amanat’ ferry.
Drivers and passengers alleged that, buses have to wait for 4-5 hours while the freight vehicles for 2-3 days on both sides of the route for crossing the Padma River.
There were long queues of vehicles on four kilometres from Zero Point of the ghat to Bangladesh Hatcheries on the Dhaka-Khulna Highway. Most of these vehicles were night coaches and trucks.
To reduce the congestion at the ferry terminal, over 400 trucks with indigestible goods were kept parked at 13 and half kilometres from the ghat.
This has mounted the sufferings of drivers and their assistants. Many were cooking in trucks taking risk.
Passenger vehicles and trucks carrying perishable were being allowed to cross the river on a priority basis.
Shihab Uddin, manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) at Daulatdia Ghat, said congestion is not always the same.
Rajbari Traffic Police Inspector Tarak Chandra Paul said the traffic was so heavy that the situation at the ghat was not normal. Truck drivers were being asked to use other routes.
Meanwhile, a team of divers from a private firm reached Paturia on Monday morning to take over the salvage operation of sunken ferry ‘Shah Amanat’.
Earlier on Sunday, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) authorities decided that Chattogram-based Genuine Enterprise Ltd would use six specialised vehicles to begin salvaging the ferry which sank at wharf No 5 of Paturia Ghat on October 27. Abdur Rahman, head of the diving team, said some members of his team were yet to arrive while a truck carrying machinery and tools needed for the operation was also stuck in traffic.
He said the team would begin its survey once the entire team arrives in the site.
“The main salvage operation will begin after all of the necessary machinery and tools arrive,” Rahman said, adding that they will need around 3-4 days to pull out the ferry.
Speaking about the matter, BIWTA Joint Director Fazlur Rahman said: “We’ve reached an agreement with Genuine Enterprise. They'll be starting their operation as soon as their machinery and tools arrive.”
Fourteen goods-laden vehicles and four motorcycles were rescued from the river till Saturday. Police handed over the vehicles to the respective owners.
Ro-ro ferry ‘Shah Amanat’ partially capsized in the Padma River at Paturia Ghat on October 27 with over 20 heavy and light vehicles on board.