The ‘VIP’ terminal of Shimulia

Munshiganj Shimulia ferry ghatThere are four ferry terminals in Shimulia of Munshiganj that transports passengers and vehicles across the Padma River.

Although the first three terminals go by the names of No 1, 2 and 3, the fourth one has been named the ‘VIP terminal’.

The naming was done to ensure that very important persons (VIP) could avail hassle-free services at the terminal.

Authorities, however, claim that despite its name the terminal is used to transport smaller vehicles.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Shimulia terminal manager Abdul Alim said that the fourth terminal had been named as such because it only ferries vehicles from Faridpur, Karnaphuli and Cumilla and smaller vehicles to ensure the pontoon came under no harm.

Responding to another query, he said that they had been instructed by the shipping ministry that joint secretaries or other high-ranking officials, the deputy inspector general of police, high-ranking army officials including colonels were to be treated as VIPs.

Alim said that they had to face the dance if the ‘VIP’s were not satisfied with the terminal authority’s services.

Complains had been lodged against former Deputy General Manager of the Shimulia terminal Shah Md Borkotullah following which he was transferred from his post, Alim added.

In response to a query over the matter, Shah Md Borkotullah said, “There was no such thing mentioned in my transfer letter.”

He reiterated the claim that the VIP terminal was used to ferry vehicles of smaller sizes and added that it was also open for the general passengers.

Mawa river police outpost In-Charge Md Aminul Islam said that he had no knowledge as to why the terminal had been named so but that they were informed prior to the arrival of any VIPs to take measures accordingly.

Mawa traffic police in-charge Md Helaluddin said that the VIPs were transported across the river as per old rules and measures would be taken if any new Gazette notice was issued in this regard.

No ferry was kept waiting for the VIPs and that they were boarded on whichever ferry was anchored at the terminal, he claimed.

He added that the only exception was that the VIPs were not put in queues like regular passengers.

A former deputy general manager of the Shimulia terminal, Shah Md Khaled Newaz, said that although the terminal used to be unofficially called the VIP terminal in the past, he had no idea why it had come to be named so officially in recent times.



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