State Minister for Shipping, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury MP, announced that ferry services on the Mawa-Banglabazar route will remain closed until the strong current and high waters subside in the river Padma.
"Movement of ferries in the Mawa channel has become risky due to increased water flow. We will stop ferry operations on the route until the river current and waters recede," the state minister told reporters at the secretariat on Wednesday.
Khalid Mahmud said the water flow on the Mawa channel may go down within the next 10 days if there is no more excessive rainfall. Then ferry operations can be resumed. There is no problem in going to Bangla Bazar from Mawa by ferry, but returning is very difficult due to strong currents.
"We don't want to take the risk with the strong currents in the river. As all the spans have been installed it can be said that the Padma Bridge is almost ready and now the ferries have to run through a specific pocket."
Under these circumstances when a whirlpool starts, it becomes difficult to control the ferry. The ministry doesn't want to have our countrymen panicking anymore, he added.
The state minister said "The Padma Bridge has become a sensitive place for the nation as country's 16 crore people consider the superstructure their own. So we are careful about the infrastructure as well."
Admitting that people were suffering due to the closure of ferry service, Khalid Mahmud said the number of ferries on the Paturia-Daulatdia, Alubazar-Harina, and Aricha-Kazirhat routes have been increased to transport people smoothly. People have to take the Daulatdia-Paturia route.
Earlier, Dr Binoy George, Deputy High Commissioner of India to Dhaka, met the state minister in his secretariat office.
In the meeting, they discussed issues of mutual interest including the use of different land ports in Bangladesh, and the Chattogram and Mongla ports, and increasing service facilities at these ports.
The state minister said Bangladesh will vie for a member post with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) council in the 'C' category. India will hopefully be with Bangladesh in that election and has already extended its support.
The election for members of the IMO Council will be held during the 32nd IMO Assembly session, 6-15 December, 2021.