Passengers, transport drivers and their assistants have been going through immense sufferings at Daulatdia Ferry Ghat in Rajbaridue to lack of ferries and terminals amid the dense fog.
Several hundred vehicles, including passenger buses and freight trucks, covered vans and private cars, got stranded on the both sides of Paturia-Daulatdia route on Friday.
On the other hand, long queues of freight trucks were seen in another two kilometres from Goalanda junction to Kalyanpur Bazar towards Rajbari, 13 kilometres away from the ferry terminal.
Drivers and their associates said it takes 15-20 hours for these freight trucks to reach the ferry. As a result, theyhave been waiting for hours on the highway amid the severe cold.
There are mainly two ways to cross the river Padma from the capital to the south-western part of the country or from those areas to the capital. One is Kanthalia-Shimulia route and the other one is Daulatdia-Paturia route.
The Kanthalia-Shimulia route is now closed due to construction work of the Padma Bridge. As a result, traffic congestion has increased on the Daulatdia-Paturia route.
Every day about three to four thousand vehicles cross the river Padma and enter the capital through this ghat.
Moreover, the dense fog has deteriorated the situation at the ferry ghat.
According to Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) Daulatdia Ghat authorities, only 4 out of 7 ferries in Daulatdia are now operational. Three ferries are closed due to various reasons, including navigability crisis.
Besides, 16 ferries are plying on this route while 4 ferries are under repair due to mechanical faults. Of these, 3 roro ferries are being repaired at Narayanganj Dockyard for the last two months.
At least 20-22 ferries need to be operational for normal vehicle movement here. But despite the extra pressure, the authorities have not taken any step to increase number of ferries for a long time.
Asked about the situation, KhorshedAlam, assistant manager of BIWTC DaulatdiaGhat, said, “Three months ago, there were a total of 21 ferries, including 12 roro ferries for transporting vehicles and passengers on Daulatdia-Paturia waterway. Now there are 16 ferries, including big and small ones.”
“The ferries often face mechanical problems as most of them are old. Besides, the pressure of vehicles heading towards Dhaka has suddenly increased. As a result, severe traffic jams are being created at Daulatdia end almost every day,” he added.