Trucks from 21 districts are getting stuck at terminals on both sides of the route for an extended period of time, which can be anywhere from 20-25 hours to even 3-4 days
The Paturia-Daulatdia ferry terminals have been witnessing a heavy traffic of vehicles for the last few weeks, following the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority's (BIWTA) decision to limit ferry services at the Shimulia-Kathalbari route.
Taking note of passengers' suffering, authorities are providing ferry services on a priority basis to buses, cars and trucks carrying perishable goods.
However, the move has caused hundreds of goods-laden trucks from 21 districts to get stuck at terminals on both sides of the route for an extended period, which can be anywhere from 20-25 hours to even 3-4 days.
As of Sunday 12pm, more than 800 trucks were waiting at the terminals for a chance to get across, ferry ghat authorities told The Business Standard, while citing the more than usual heavy traffic at ferry terminals as the reason behind the problem.
Mizanur Rahman, a truck driver waiting at the Paturia Ferry Terminal, said, "The hassle at Paturia and Daulatdia ferry terminals is nothing new. Buses and smaller vehicles get the opportunity to get across as soon as they arrive, but truck drivers get deprived of this facility."
"The number of ferries must be increased to ease the hassle of truck drivers at the terminals."
Muslem Uddin, another truck driver bound for Jashore, said, "The Highway Police halts trucks when they are around 35 kilometres away from the ferry terminal. When the traffic at the terminal eases a bit, Shibaloy police again halts trucks when we are six kilometres away.
"Then the police allow a small number of trucks to head to the ferry terminal at a time using a queue system. It takes us 20-25 hours to get across the 30-minute waterways route. When the traffic of trucks is heavier, we have to wait for at least 3-4 days."
Commenting on the issue, Salam Hossain, manager (Commerce) at the BIWTA's Aricha Office, said, "More than 300 trucks are waiting to get across at the Paturia ferry terminal in Manikganj, and another 300 trucks are stuck on Dhaka-Aricha Highway in the Bathuli and Uthuli areas.
"The number of trucks waiting to get across is increasing due to the disruption in ferry service at the Shimulia-Kathalbari route."
Abu Abdullah Rony, manager (Commerce) at the BIWTA's Daulatdia Ferryghat, said, "There used to be 18 big and small ferries at the Paturia-Daulatdia route. One of the ferries is out of service, so we are using the remaining 17 to transport passengers and vehicles.
"More than 200 goods-laden trucks bound for Dhaka are presently stuck at the Daulatdia Ferryghat area."
Meanwhile, Zillur Rahman, deputy general manager of BIWTA's Aricha office, said, "The truck drivers are going through a lot of hassle because of the priority ferry service being provided to small private vehicles and trucks carrying perishable goods."
"Trucks waiting at both the terminals can be transported across the waterways during the evening."