Water transport service resumes as weather improves

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, or BIWTA, has lifted restrictions on water travel after weather improved following two days of rains.

Ferry services along the Shimulia-Kathalbari water route, from the capital to 21 districts in the south, have resumed.

Water travel had been restricted since Friday due to bad weather, BIWTA public relations official Md Mobarak Hossain Mazumdar told bdnews24.com on Sunday.

“Permission was granted for all water travel from 6:45am due to the improvement in weather.”

A low pressure system developing in the Bay of Bengal and moving north-northeast had led to heavy rains in Dhaka and other parts of the country since Thursday.

The weather had led to a No. 3 warning at maritime ports and a No. 2 warning at inland ports.

The BIWTA warned all water transports below 65 feet in length to stop services on Friday. It also ordered all launch services in the coastal areas of Hatia, Betua and Rangabali to halt their operations.

The authority was later obliged to order all travels on the Shimulia-Kathalbari route to cease after the Padma waters became choppy, leading hundreds of vehicles to face delays at the ports.

About 65 passenger-bearing launches set off along the 42 routes to the south from Dhaka every day, says Sadarghat BIWTA Transport Director Humayun Kabir.

“Due to the bad weather yesterday only five launches set out. All forms of water transport were stopped after 4pm.”

Preparations are underway for various launches to leave port after the BIWTA lifted the restrictions on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile ferries, launches and speedboats have been allowed to cross the Padma from Munshiganj’s Shimulia and Madaripur’s Kathalbari since 6am.

Ferry services are currently available at dock numbers 2 and 3 at Shimulia port, said MIWTA Assistant General Manager Khandker Shah Newaj Khalid. Repairs are underway on dock No. 1 and the VIP ferry dock.

At least 600 vehicles were still waiting to leave Shimulia port after the two-day delay.

“Now 15 ferries are active on this route. Travellers can also go by launch or speedboat. We hope the situation will return to normal by this evening if we can stick to our schedule throughout the day.

“Hundreds of vehicles and thousands of travellers are still waiting at Shimulia port,” said Mawa Marine Outpost In-Charge Sarajit Kumar Ghosh. “Police are providing security. We are alert and working to ensure there is no trouble.”

bdnews24

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