Defying rules, the owners of light water vessels like trawlers and boats continued plying through the country’s haor regions, caused serious frequent accidents those claimed the many people lives under the nose of authority concerned.
Although the country’s tourist spots have not been fully opened due to the corona virus situation, there have been reports of accidents in the haor area for some time now. There are frequent deaths due to boat sinking while people going around haor.
17 people died when a boat sank in a haor in Netrokona’s Madan upazila on August 5. Due to mismanagement of naval communication, there are frequent incidents of boat sinking and loss of life, people claimed.
The number of deaths due to natural calamities in the country’s wide waterways is not less. The manner in which the trawler sank in Netrokona’sHaor is nothing but the result of unresponsiveness. If the people concerned had complied with the rules and prohibitions, it would not had to witness the mourning of the people who lost their relatives in this way.
Accidents often happen in Sunamganj, which is known as the district of haor. In July and August, about five people died in boat sinking in Tahirpur, Chatak and Dharmapashaupazila of Sunamganj.
Almost 11 upazilas of Sunamganj district are haor based. Ordinary people use the waterways in village market, union and upazila for necessary work. The people of haor think that even though there are specific rules for the movement of transport by road, there is no guidelines on waterways. For this reason, trawlers or boatmen carry as many passengers as they want. That is why naval accidents are happening.
Social activist Abu TaherFrom Sylhet said that, “To prevent such accidents on the waterways in haor regions, it is necessary to check the fitness of the trawler or boat, ensure the carrying capacity of the passengers and ensure the life jacket for the safety of the passengers.”
“It is also important for the local administration to formulate regulations for passenger safety as well as revenue collection from the jetty. Otherwise, it is not possible to prevent the loss of life on the waterway,” he added.
Deputy Commissioner of Sunamganj district, Mohammad Abdul Ahad said, “We have always been conducting awareness campaigns for boat owners and sailors. Each passenger trawler has been instructed to carry a life jacket.”
Earlier, 2 tourists were killed in several accidents in haor area of Kishoreganj. Among them, a tourist died while swimming in the haor area of Nikli. Another tourist was buried in a boat accident at a haor in Bajitpurupazila.
However, waterways are the best way of transportation for the people of the coastal areas of South Bengal, northern haors and riverine areas of the country. Once there were rivers, canals, lakes and haors in the country with a total of about 24,000 kilometers of waterways.
Among them, the Inland Waterways Authority of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority surveyed the coastal and inland waterways of Bangladesh from 1962 to 1967 with the help of the Netherlands and took measures to protect a total of 13,770 km of navigable waterways.
Subsequently, due to the gradual fall of silt in the river, the navigability was reduced to 5,995 km in 1988. Poor people living in coastal, haor and riverine districts are crossing this wide waterway every day for their daily needs and their number is increasing day by day.
Experts think that as human pressure on waterways increases, so the coordination of government agencies, strong oversight and management, proper enforcement of laws, can reduce accident on different haors and save lives.