Vessels ply thru’ 6,000 unprotected waterways across country
Golam Mostafa Jibon: Concern is growing among the people as the number of naval accidents is increasing constantly due to several irregularities and mismanagement in the sector. Though, the matter is discussed widely soon after any launch or other water transport accident, the discussion go off very soon due to lack of fair political will.
Expert said, the death toll on the waterways is increasing day by day without declining.
A statistic shows that more than 3,000 people died in different accidents on the waterway in the last 30 years.
Latest, five people were killed when a soil-carrying trawler collided with a sand-carrying bulkhead in the Dakatiya river in Chandpur on Monday. The collision took place between a bulkhead and a trawler in the river due to dense fog.
Now question has been intensified that how many people will constantly die in naval accidents. Although, the trawler is moving in the river with risk, the concerned authorities are also indifferent. But, authorities cannot avoid liability. Waterways are the major means of communication, traveling and trading in the country. At present, there are about 6,000 waterways in the country. Most of them are unprotected. Although, about 3,000 small and large launches and ships are legally operating on these waterways, several times more vessels are plying without permission. There is no one to watch. If the government had taken effective steps to prevent road accidents or naval accidents, we would not have seen such a death march on the river. The government spends thousands of crores of Taka each year on waterway development. But, accidents do not decrease.
Although, the waterway system has improved now at different parts of the country especially in the Southwestern part. But, it cannot be said that the overall system is very advanced. In addition to large ships, small trawlers and engine boats ply on the waterways. It can be seen that trawlers and launches are often the victims of accidents. The administration is also blaming high-speed launches and sand-carrying ships as well as illegal ferries on both sides of the river for the accident. Although, various issues came up in the post-accident investigation report, no effective steps are taken to resolve those.
Accidents are taking place due to the waves of speedy launches, while boats are passing through different illegal Ghats.
An investigation committee is formed to find out the reasons behind the accident just after each accident. The formation of such an inquiry committee after the accident seems to be a mere figment of the imagination. It is not heard that immediate action has been taken on the recommendation of the inquiry committee. The government should take the naval accident seriously. In this case, the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Disaster Management will have to come forward for rehabilitation work. Risk-prone naval routes need to be identified and rescue teams should be formed in its coastal locations to provide regular training to them. In order to ensure safe travel and fair trade for countless people, the waterways need to be looked at on an urgent basis, expert said.
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