Lack of navigability in the Mawa-Kewrakandi route has caused ferries running into sandbars causing long tailbacks. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) said that ferry operations were halted for nearly two and half hours on Sunday after two ferries ran aground in mid river. Crossing was halted for nearly seven and half hours, in two spells, on Saturday also.
Witnesses said, the Kewrakandi-bound Shahid Barkat, with 19 vehicles on board, ran aground into a sand bank at a narrow channel in Naodoba turning at 8.45am. The ferry was recovered around 11am.
Only five minutes later, another ferry named Jamuna got stuck at the same place. The recovery vessel, which was already on site, dislodged the stuck ferry in fifteen minutes. Ferry travel resumed around 11.15am.
Repeated cases of ferries running aground saw around 300 vehicles get stuck on both sides of the river around noon.
BIWTC Mawa port manager Shirajul Haque confirmed these and said, “The ferries are carrying lesser vehicles than their capacity and are using the Kabutarkhola channel for one-way commute at risk. However, it could halted anytime.”
He pointed out that even though they are dredging the channel, it is still hard to keep the channel accessible due to lack of water. The Magurkhanda channel has already been closed due to the same problem.