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22.5 lakh people to leave Dhaka via waterways

Staff Reporter:

Approximately 22.5 lakh individuals are projected to leave the greater Dhaka area using waterways for the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr holiday, according to the Shipping and Communication Reporters Forum (SCRF). This figure represents only 15 percent of the total number of holidaymakers expected to depart from Dhaka and its surrounding areas, including Gazipur and Narayanganj.
The SCRF released these insights on Tuesday through a press release summarizing their pre-Eid observa-tion report. It was noted that the majority of these passengers would be traveling to the greater Barishal region, with others heading towards Chandpur, Madaripur, Shariatpur, Munshiganj, and Hatia in Noakhali.
This year’s figures show a decrease from two years ago when 25 percent of travelers opted for water-ways, a change attributed partly to the opening of the Padma Bridge in 2022, which led to a 40 percent reduction in waterway passengers to coastal districts, with the exception of Chandpur and Hatia.
The SCRF report anticipates the travel rush to commence on April 4, with all waterway passengers ex-pected to leave between April 4 and April 10, the day before Eid. Daily, Sadarghat terminal is set to see about 3.21 lakh people pass through.
However, concerns have been raised regarding the navigability of waterways and the shortage of vessels. Currently, only 31 of the originally 41 waterways from Dhaka are operational due to these challenges. Despite this, the number of launches is expected to increase to about 175 before Eid, with 87 of these departing from Sadarghat.
The report highlights the pressure on launches, many of which are expected to carry double or triple their capacity, exacerbating the risk of accidents and public suffering. With many launches having a ca-pacity of less than 1,000 people, the surge in passengers, especially in the three days leading up to Eid, poses significant safety concerns.
In response, the SCRF has called for immediate action from relevant authorities, including enhanced surveillance and security measures at waterways and terminals, to mitigate the risks associated with over-capacity and ensure a safer travel experience for Eid holidaymakers.

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