Jazira-Shimulia waterway was launched after two months

After two months, a passenger launch was launched on the Jazira-Shimulia route. 18 trips of 9 launches from two ghats are running throughout the day from Thursday morning. 10 to 12 passengers crossed in each trip.

On June 23, two days before the launch of the Padma Bridge, the launch movement on the waterway was stopped. Last Monday, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) announced the notification of launch and speedboat movement. After that today launch movement started again under the initiative of launch owner association. For now, 30 launches and 40 speedboats have been announced to run on this waterway every day.

A launch with 10 passengers left for Shimulia Ghat from Jazeera’s Sattar Madbar-Mangal Mazhir Ghat around 9:30 am on Thursday. Again, a launch from Shimulia Ghat reached Sattar Madbar-Mangal Mazhir Ghat around 10:30 am with 12 passengers. In this way, the launch made 18 trips of 9 from two ghats till 6:30 in the evening. However, no speedboats operated throughout the day. The drivers were ready with the speedboat but did not leave as no passengers were found.

All those who have crossed the Padma in the launch today have their homes in the villages on the banks of the Padma in Jazira. They crossed this waterway to travel to Munshiganj and Keraniganj of Dhaka.

Mobarak Hossain, a resident of Jazeera’s Pal Char, told Prothom Alo, “My house is near Sattar Madbar-Mangal Majhir Ghat.” From here it is easy to go to Shimulia by launch. After crossing the Padma, I will go to Keraniganj from there. If the waterway is open, it will be easy for the people of different villages of Jazira to go to different areas on the southern bank of Padma.

Moklesh Madbar, Manager of Sattar Madbar-Mangal Mazhir Ghat and Member of Launch Owners Association, said that whether the desired passengers can be found on this waterway or not, it will be understood after a few days of launching. He told Prothom Alo that the launch has started after two months. However, there was no response from the passengers. 10-12 passengers and 3-4 motorcycles crossed each trip of the launch on Thursday. At least 50 passengers are required to board the launch due to the oil and labor costs involved. If it is less than this, the loss has to be calculated.

According to BIWTA sources, in 1984, people from the southern region started crossing the Padma river through the Dhaka-Mawa road. After this path became popular. The people of 19 districts of South and South-Western regions use Mawa-Kawrakandi, Kanthalbari, Shimulia-Banglabazar and Shimulia-Jazira waterways to travel on this road. At last, 87 launches and 350 speedboats used to carry passengers on this waterway.

Padma Setu was inaugurated on June 25. From June 26, people started crossing the Padma Bridge with vehicles. Because of this, passenger crossing by launch and speedboat was stopped from June 23.