POST TIME: 7 May, 2019 00:00 00 AM
How safe are ferries in Shitalakkhya?
You need to know what travellers say
UNB, Narayanganj

How safe are ferries in Shitalakkhya?

Travelling by ferries may sound exciting! But you need to think twice before travelling through the Shitalakhhya River. Two ferries now ply this vital river route every day with a single engine each taking risks at Murapara-Rupganj point in Rupganj upazila. Visiting the ferry ghats and talking to some drivers and passengers, the UNB correspondent found that the ferries have four engines in total but two remain out of order most of the time for which they jerk strongly while moving, causing frequent accidents.

Dhaka-bound passengers from 17 districts cross the Shitalakkhya River every day and have to wait for hours due to technical faults of two 28-year-old ferries which require frequent repairing of its engines and bodies.

Thousands of passengers form 17 districts of the country, particularly Cumilla, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram, Habiganj, Brahmanbaria, Moulvibazar, and Sunamganj are using this route for entering the capital.

A good number of drivers and passengers told the UNB correspondent that they are using the river-route instead of Dhaka-Sylhet highway to avoid hassles as the work on Bhulta flyover is underway.

“We're paying fares as per rules. So, why should we sufferer?" said an aggrieved bus driver.

According to official sources, Roads and Highways Department arranged the two ferries on Shitalakkhya River [Murapara-Rupganj Sadar area] to facilitate communication between Dhaka and some 17 districts. Each year, they lease out the two ferries to different contracting firms. Currently, these are leased out to Samor Ali Sardar, the owner of Sumon Enterprise.

“When I inform the authorities concerned about the problems, they make temporary a solution. But people have to suffer again as new problems arise due to the rundown condition of the ferries,” said Samar Ali Sardar.

Sub-divisional engineer of district Roads and Highways department Shakhawat Hossain said, “We've already discussed the problem.

It'll be resolved as early as possible.” Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Momtaz Begum also said steps will be taken to assuage the sufferings after discussions with the authorities concerned.