More than 20 launches carrying tourists have left for Sundarbans as the ban on tourist vessels in the largest mangrove forest of the world has been lifted.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) canceled its previous order at 10:30pm on Thursday. It issued a notification on Wednesday night, suspending entry of tourist boats into the Sundarbans.
Deputy Director of the Port and Transport Department of Khulna River Port Abdur Razzak said, “We issued a new notification around 10:30pm on Thursday after receiving verbal instructions from the chairman and the director of the BIWTA.”
However, six-point guidelines have been issued for tour operators to prevent Covid-19 infections and accidents.
The guidelines in the new circular include maintaining hygiene rules, carrying highest 75 tourists in each launch, wearing face masks, use of hand sanitiser while boarding the launches.
Besides, tour operators have been asked to make sure that no launch would enter the Sundarbans without the permission of the BIWTA.
Tourist operators said the entry of tourist boats into the Sundarbans was suspended despite the fact that no tourist destination was declared closed.
Therefore, tour operators were forced into a confounded situation and found no way to convince the tourists. A kind of confusion arose among them, following the ban.
In such a situation, Tourist Operators Association of Sundarbans contacted the BIWTA head office and sent a letter to lift the ban.
General Secretary of the association Nazmul Azam said, “The ban was lifted on Thursday night in response to our request to the BIWTA chairman. After receiving the instruction, more than 20 launches left Khulna for the Sundarbans with tourists in the morning. With this, our two-day long worries have come to an end.”