Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Making a mockery of a ban on daytime services, all ferries are operating due to a rush of travellers who are defying coronavirus lockdown curbs to travel home for Eid-ul-Fitr.
All the 35 ferries operated by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation or BIWTC were travelling from Wednesday, its General Manager Mohammad Ashikuzzaman said, hours after the deaths of five passengers on overcrowded ferries.
Asked whether the daytime ban was lifted, he said the bar announced on Saturday was still in force.
“The ferries are transporting ambulance and emergency service vehicles. People are also travelling,” he added.
The BIWTC had halted the services because it believed a rush of travellers would drive infections when the country is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak, Nazrul Islam Misha, a spokesman for the corporation, said on Saturday.
The ferries would operate in the night only for vehicles carrying goods while vehicles carrying dead bodies and for “very important” reasons would be transported under special arrangements, Misha had said.
The authorities also deployed Border Guard Bangladesh as the police struggled to stop the exodus. But thousands of travellers, who crossed barricades mostly on foot to reach the piers, continued to force the authorities to carry passengers on the ferries.
On Wednesday, at least five people died in a crush of passengers on ferries on the Padma River during desperate Eid journeys amid the lockdown.