Scores of people and vehicles are stranded at Munshiganj’s Shimulia ferry terminal after the authorities suspended daytime ferry services to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Ferry services on the route were halted at 3:30 am on Saturday, said Shafiqul Islam, assistant general manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation at Mawa ferry terminal. But it has not stopped the inflow of travellers.
BIWTC decided to stop daytime ferry services from Saturday after a huge number of people crossed the river on Friday. Ferries will now operate on the Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Banglabazar routes only at night, reports bdnews24.com.
“Thousands of people gathered at the terminal on Friday defying government health directives. Many did not even wear masks. Ferry services have been shut to avoid risks,” Shafiqul said.
Meanwhile, the sudden shutdown of ferries has caused immense sufferings to travellers. A long tailback of vehicles has formed in the terminal area.
The shutdown of public transport has led to travellers paying extra for taxis while some chose to walk to the port. Heading back is not an option for many as they do not have the money for transport. Many are residing in the terminal area and are suffering in the sweltering heat.
There is no crossing of the Padma as launches, speedboats and ferries are shut, said Shafiqul. Besides, the authorities and the river police are keeping a close watch on the proceedings.
In the morning, people were seen trying to cross the river by fishing trawlers. But the administration stopped them and told the people to go back.