RAJSHAHI, July 16: Pleasure trips by boats in the Padma river surrounding the city protection embankment is turning risky and dangerous as neither the boatmen nor the riders are conscious about the risk.
It is learnt, some boatmen take people for pleasure trips on boats
from Sreerampore, T-Bandh and Lalon Shah Mancha areas along the city protection embankment. Those boatmen do not have any training how to row the boats.
Besides, most of those boats do not carry any life jackets for passengers as well as for the boatmen. Also, there is no one to supervise the time schedule when it should not move based on weather condition and there is none to warn boatmen of carrying excess riders on boats.
Taking the advantage of the situation, the boats are cruising through the river at any time with as many as passengers.
Not only the elderly people but also children with their parents go on pleasure trips by these boats. But, a large part of such riders are young men and women, mainly students from various city educational institutions.
Often, group of friends rides on the same boat and start jumping in joy over there resulting slanting of the boats at one side. There are also incidents of sinking or capsizing of boats causing loss of lives
With the increase in water and strong current in the Padma, the number of boats as well as the number of pleasure riders has also increased at present.
The boatmen were loading their boats with joy riders and taking them to travel through the rivers for a while as against a sum of Tk10 as fare per person.
As there is no supervising authority, these boat men are carrying excessive passengers on boats. As a result, on Sunday afternoon, two young women fell into the river from the boat near Sreerampore. However, with them a wooden bench was also fallen in the water and by catching the bench, those women were saved and rescued by the boatmen.
The boatman carrying the passengers on boat informed, they were jumping in glee by sitting on the bench of the boat when they fell into water with the bench. There was no strong current in the river that is why those women survived by catching the bench, otherwise they would have washed away in the current, the boatmen added.
Enamul Haque, Gauge Reader of Water Development Board in Rajshahi, said on Monday afternoon the water level of the Padma was 13.05 metre as against the danger mark of 18.50 metre. Due to on rush of water, there was strong current in the river and movement of all sorts of boats including shallow engine driven ones in the river is banned.
In May, 2017 five passengers including two children had died when a boat capsized on the river Padma near Sreerampore. Last year also two persons drowned. But, no one was caring for any ban rather with the increase in water in the river, the risky pleasure trip through boat has also been increased.
Sihab Ali (22), a boatman at T-Bandh area, said he has life jackets in the boat. But, those who ride on the boat do not want to wear those. As a result, most of the boats carry no life jacket.
Mehedi Masud, officer-in-charge of River Police, Rajshahi, said, they started its new journey in Rajshahi and the incidents of pleasure trips on boats in the Padma was not known to them.
But, he assured, the river police would not allow any boat to move in the river when there is strong current and wind in the river. Moreover, people of adjacent areas will be made aware through microphones not to make such risky ride. Life jackets in all boats should also be ensured, said OC Mehedi Masud.
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