Migrant people and workers sit on a pickup van as they leave the city before the countrywide lockdown imposed as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases increased, at Mawa ferry port in Munshiganj, Bangladesh, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain REFILE – CORRECTING TYPO IN COUNTRYWIDE
By Pooja Shrivastava
Amidst the rush to head home ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Banglabazar routes in Bangladesh have been suspended. The decision was taken by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) to curb the spread of Covid-19 and is effective immediately.
“Following the directives of the government to stem the spread of Covid-19, BIWTC has suspended the ferry services. However, the goods-laden vessels can cross the rivers at night,” said Nazrul Islam, public relations officer of BIWTC.
The sudden suspension has caused chaos and confusion to hundreds of home-bound people ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, who were also taking advantage of the two-day weekend. Daulatdia-Paturia route has been witnessing a huge rush of vehicles and passengers in the past couple of days.
Another official from BIWTC said that ferry services were suspended as per the orders of the Shipping Ministry. In case of an emergency, “we can operate one or two ferries for crossing the river.”
The country is in lockdown until May 16 to combat the alarming surge of Covid-19 cases as it is hit by the second wave of the pandemic. Movement of all kinds of long-haul public transports is suspended ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr. Train services will also remain suspended during the period.