Govt steps not enough to ensure safe Eid journey

Dhaka,  Wed,  23 August 2017
Published : 19 Jun 2017, 00:40:59
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Govt steps not enough to ensure safe Eid journey

Say rights activists
FE Report


Rights activists on Sunday expressed concern that there are not enough initiatives on the part of the government to ensure safe journey of home-bound passengers during Eid-ul-Fitr celebration.

The National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways (NCPSRR) said that about 1.29 crore people would leave Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj for their home districts to celebrate Eid with their near and dear ones, but the government's measures to ensure safe journey during this disaster-prone month is not well-managed.

In a pre-Eid observation report, the organisation said public suffering on waterways and roads might mount this year due to lack of proper management as natural calamity might cause disruption in their travel anytime.

The report said about 55 per cent of Eid holidaymakers would use roads, 25 per cent waterways and 20 per cent railways, putting extra pressure on bus, train and launch terminals. But the authorities concerned did not take steps to stop plying of sand- and cement-laden vessels and mechanised boats carrying passengers at night on different rivers, including the Buriganga, despite the embargo imposed by the shipping ministry.

As many as 87 launches are operating on Shimulia-Kathalbari route across the Padma river regularly, but nearly 90 per cent of them are structurally and technically faulty, and their economic life has expired many years ago, the report said.

The NCPSRR also alleged that a large number of faulty, unfit and unregistered vessels are still plying across the country, which are being operated by unskilled and unqualified masters and drivers.

Besides, there still exist many risky turning points on roads and highways and a huge portion of dilapidated roads in different parts of the country, including Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Aricha, Dhaka-Tangail, Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Sylhet highways, posing a threat to safe journey.

Ahead of Eid, many bus operators have painted hundreds of faulty and unfit buses to give them a new look in the name of repair under the nose of the authorities , and unskilled drivers without any valid licence would drive them, making the journey of home-bound passengers risky, the report said.

Ashish Kumar Dey, general secretary of the committee, said heavy rains have made the country's waterways and roads risky for lack of maintenance. He also expressed concern over mismanagement at launch and bus terminals and ferry ghats.

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