Fuel price hike: Launch services stop as transport crisis deepens

A day after owners and workers of public and cargo transports began an indefinite strike over a hike in fuel prices, launch services have also been halted leaving scores of travellers in the lurch.

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 6 Nov 2021, 11:29 AM
Updated : 6 Nov 2021, 11:29 AM

As buses stayed off the roads on Friday, south-bound passengers swarmed Dhaka's Sadarghat to reach their destinations through the waterways.

And on Saturday morning, 30 vessels headed to different parts of the country from Sadarghat but launch operations stopped around 3:30 pm.

"After the morning departures, there were still 35 launches at the pontoon. But in the afternoon, those were removed from the pier," BIWTA Transport Inspector Md Humayun said.

Asked about the matter, Mamunur Rashid, a launch owner, said, "It's not possible to run the launch without increasing the fare. So all the owners have decided against continuing launch services.”

However, he said the decision did not come from the Launch Owners' Association. Leaders of the association were not immediately available for comment.

A meeting with Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority on a hike in the launch fare was scheduled for Saturday. However, Mamun said the meeting did not take place.

Workers and owners of trucks and buses are enforcing a nationwide after the government announced that the price of diesel would be raised by Tk 15 to Tk 80.

In light of the hike in fuel prices, launch owners have called for the fares to be doubled.

They have proposed fixing the fare at Tk 3.40 for the first 100 kilometres, from Tk 1.70, while raising the rate to Tk 2.80 from Tk 1.40 beyond 100 kilometres.

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