About 20,000 people, who are directly or indirectly involved with Shimulia ferry ghat activities, have become jobless due to indefinite blockade and hartal enforced by BNP-led 20-party alliance. Along with them, around 1,20,000 members of their families are passing their days in hardship.
According to terminal sources, about 15,500 bus workers of 3,000 buses, more than 600 launch workers of 87 launches, 1,200 sea boat workers, another 2,500 hawkers and hotel workers are totally jobless now.
About 20,000 workers have been rendered jobless due to blockade and hartal for the last one month.
Failing to join their works, those workers including drivers and helpers of buses and trucks, line masters, booking clerks, masters and helpers of launches are spending days with unbearable misery with their family members. The hotels, restaurants and small shops around the terminals also remained almost vacant, making a sharp dent in income of the people concerned.
On the other hand, lessees of Shimulia ghat are counting loss of thousands of taka every day. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) authorities are also incurring loss of Tk 2 lakh as tax every day. Ten ferries out of seventeen are currently running by the Shimulia-Kawrakandi route but they are incurring loss also, the sources said.
As there is few or no passengers in the launches, launch owners are incurring losses which have made them unable to pay wages of launch employees. While visiting the Shimulia ghat recently, this correspondent found that the ghat area is almost vacant. There is hardly any vehicle in the ghat to cross the river. As a result, ferries stand at the terminals idle. Only ten ferries out of seventeen are running as there is hardly any vehicle.
Shimulia BIWTC Assistant Manager Md. Ashiquzzaman said, “The number of vehicles is very few in the Shimulia-Kawrakandi route as non-stop blockade have snapped traffic movement. The number of goods laden trucks and vans are also decreasing day by day fearing arson. As a result, authorities are incurring loss of Tk 1 to 3 lakh every day.”