Sea truck withdrawal by BIWTC leaves passengers in trouble
Thursday, 31 January 2008

Our Correspondent

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation has withdrawn one of its two sea trucks from the Barisal-Lakshmipur coastal river route, causing immense sufferings to the passengers.

Now only one sea truck, Khizir-6, is plying the route after the BIWTC placed Khizir-8 on the Teknaf-Kutubdia-St Martin's route.

The Barisal-Lakshmipur river route is very important for the passengers as it connects the bus route from Lakshmipur to the port city of Chittagong, local sources said. Besides, people can make their journey from Barisal city to the Chittagong river port and the seaport at the shortest time by using the river route.

Passengers, who used to travel on the route, are now undergoing immense sufferings, they added. Two sea trucks were plying the route every day but now the service has been reduced to only three days a week following the withdrawal of Khizir-8. Md Nasiruddin, director administration of the BIWTC,said that the BIWTC chairman rejected the proposal of withdrawal of Khizir-8 from the route.

But the passenger services unit director of the BIWTC issued the withdrawal order and placed Khizir-8 on the Teknaf-Kutubdia-St Martin's route, he said.

Khizir-8 had been put into operation on the Barisal-Lakshmipur route as per a decision taken by the BIWTC board of directors, Nasiruddin said. Following the decision, Khizir-8 was modernised with installation of air coolers and other facilities.

But the BIWTC authorities in an abrupt decision withdrew the sea truck two weeks ago without taking into account the interest of passengers. Different organisations of Barisal, including the Barisal Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Nagorik Parishad, Nagorik Samaj, Bivag Unnayan Parishad, Reporters Unity, also demanded cancellation of the decision.

But the authorities did not pay any heed to the plea. Eight sea trucks including Khizir-6 and Khizir-8 were procured from China in different times in the past for safe and smooth journey on the coastal and river routes. Three of them — Khizir 2, 5 and 7— are now at the dockyard of the BIWTC.

Khizir-1 on Lalpur-Shashir Char and ST Khizir-3 on Hatiya-Charbata route are plying regularly while Khizir-4 on the Kumira-Gupter Char route lie standby at the Chittagong port.

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