Ferry service through Mawa in Padma river came to almost standstill as the only terminal in operation there were under threat due to river-erosion and strong current.
According to BIWTA Mawa terminal officials, the number 1 ferry terminal suddenly perished in the Padma River around 7pm on Sunday. Fifteen shops that were there on the river-bank also lost in the river. Several people standing on the pontoon and the river-bank also fell in the river. Five of them were missing till Monday morning, they said.
Under the circumstances, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority on Sunday night requested all vehicles to use Paturia to cross the river.
Meanwhile, cracks were seen on the new number 4 terminal, which was ready to put in operation. Terminal officials said land from under the terminal 3, which is in operation, has started eroding.
“On Oct 9 the number 2 terminal were closed down due to erosion. Just after five days number 1 terminal faced the similar fate. Work to prepare the number 4 terminal as alternative was underway, but cracks were seen on it at night,” Assistant General Manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) Ashikuzzaman said.
“Tension is running high in Mawa,” he added.
He said the fire service divers could not conduct rescue operations at night due to strong current. “They will resume rescue operation in the morning to look for the missing shopkeepers,” the BIWTC officer said.
Officer-in-charge of Mawa Police station Khandaker Khalid said four of the five missing have been identified as Byron Mia, 45, Abul Kashem, 60, Janu Mia, 50 and Abul Kalam, 55. All of them are shopkeepers at Mawa and hail from Kandipara village under Medini Mandal union.
Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Azizul Alam said the BIWTA Chairman has been informed of the overall situation and added that efforts were underway to maintain ferry services.
Munshiganj-2 ruling party MP Sagufta Yasmin, also Parliament Whip, has asked authorities to take immediate steps to look for the missing persons. She also urged the Water Development Board officials to take steps to stop erosion.
bdnews24.com Munshiganj correspondent said that vehicles only in case of emergency were using the number 3 terminal to cross the river. Fewer vehicles were seen at the terminal in the morning.