The recent hike in fuel prices has deserted the Daulatdia ferry terminal, which was once packed with passengers.
The terminal’s ferries and launches now sit idle as owners are unable to manage enough passengers to operate their vessels.
They told Dhaka Tribune that previously they had to run the launches every 20 minutes, but since the fuel prices have increased, it takes over an hour to get enough people on board.
However, they also mentioned that the Daulatdia ferry terminal has been facing this issue since the Padma Bridge was inaugurated on June 25, resulting in losses for the owners.
According to Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), as many as 25 launches operate on the Daulatdia-Paturia and Aricha-Nagarbari waterways.
Out of that, 17 launches run on Daulatdia-Paturia route.
Around 30,000 passengers used to cross the river every day through the terminals, but now most long-distance transport, cargo vehicles, and other private vehicles use the Padma Bridge.
On Sunday, Kausar Hossain, a passenger of a launch at the Daulatdia terminal said that he was been waiting for the vessel to cross the river for over an hour.
MV Tumpa launch operator Thandu Mia said: “We used to carry over 100 passengers every 20 minutes. Now even after waiting for an hour, we manage to get 30-40 passengers.”
He added that they cannot operate the launches with few passengers as that would not cover their expenses for the fuel.
Nurul Anwar, a member of the Aricha Launch Owners Association, said that passengers used to wait for hours at both terminals to cross the Padma River, but now launches are waiting for passengers.
BIWTA Aricha office Traffic Inspector Aftab Hossain said: “ Even though passenger numbers have decreased, no launch has been removed from the terminals.”
The new prices of diesel and kerosene per litre at the consumer level are Tk114, octane Tk135, and petrol Tk130.
The price of diesel has been increased by Tk 34 per litre, octane price by Tk 46 per litre and petrol price by Tk 44 per litre.
“One can know whether one is in heaven or in hell only after death,” Tipu Munshi said, referring to Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen’s remark.
“There is no denying that the prices of daily necessities have increased all over the world, and its impact has reached our country as well, as a result of which the common people are suffering. But the government is trying its best to alleviate their sufferings.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had asked everyone to be frugal to overcome the ongoing crisis, the commerce minister added.