Sadarghat back on stream after nine hours
Tuesday, 06 May 2008

Bdnews24.com

River traffic on the Buriganga returns to normal on Monday after the reopening of a pier at Gudaraghat in Sadarghat. Angry local workers set fire to two launches on the river after the pier was ordered shut by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Sunday. The Sadarghat terminal remained closed for more than nine hours Sunday after angry people set fire to two launches on the Buriganga in protest against the closure of Masjidghat pier, a BIWTA official said.

Launch owners decided to resume operations at 8.30pm after Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority gave them assurance of compensation and proper security.

Angry workers and other people set fire to the launches after the pier, across from Sadarghat, was ordered closed by the BIWTA.

The protests compelled the authorities to withdraw its decision.

Md Badiuzzaman Badal, acting chairman of Bangladesh Inland Waterways Passenger Carriers Association, told bdnews24.com that the launch owners had decided to ply after a meeting with BIWTA chairman Abdul Mannan and director general (shipping) Shafique Ullah.

The BIWTA assured that owners of the damaged launches would get compensation and injured workers would be given treatment.

"The launch owners and workers feel insecure. The workers are moving their launches from Sadarghat to a safer place," he told bdnews24.com before the meeting.

Badiuzzaman claimed that the attackers also burnt three other launches partially.

The agitated people vandalised 15 launches and looted goods. Some 30 people were injured, he alleged.

Thousands of people obstructed the fire fighters who had come to the scene to douse the fire and threw brickbats at the police.

Sub-inspector of South Keraniganj Police Station Golam Mostafa told bdnews24.com: "The police could not take any action as there were thousands of people there. If the police had taken action, the situation would have spun out of control."

Babul Dhali, a garment trader of Gudaraghat Alam Tower, said: "Thousands of people use Masjidghat every day to go to the markets of Gudaraghat. There are around 150 markets around the pier."

The pier is 200 years old, Dhali said.

The people found that the pier had been closed when they had come to work in the morning, Dhali said.

The protesters took position in Gudaraghat and chanted slogans demanding the resumption of the pier.

They became calm as the DC and SP the assured them that the pier would run its activities as before.

bdnews24.com's Mitford correspondent said that the BIWTA officials, the police and the officials of district administration met for around two hours and cancelled the order to close the pier.

The launches that came under arson attacks are Obhijan-3, which was bound for Barisal from Dhaka, and Riaz-4, bound for Fatullah.

Comments Add New
Write comment
Name:
Email:
  We don't publish your mail. See privacy policy.
Title:
Please input the anti-spam code that you can read in the image.