Although a new pontoon and jetty lie at Kalapara launch ghat, its leaser is not using the terminal for launches for long.
Instead, launches are anchoring in the sawmill area, about 400 metres away from the ghat, causing immense sufferings to passengers.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) set up the pontoon and jetty at the launch ghat two years ago but leaser Tanvir Munshi is yet to operate it for launches.
Three launches ply separate internal routes in Kalapara and its adjacent Rangabali upazilas. Launch is the only means of communication for shoal people in the area.
Of them, two launches run between Kalapara and Rangabali upazila and the rest runs between Kalapara and Mowdubi, a fish landing station under Rangabali upazila, and as Mowdubi and Rangabali are isolated areas, there is no road linking the areas.
Md Rashedul Islam of Mowdubi area said they often come to Kalapara upazila headquarters by launch and face immense problem while getting on or off the launch.
Especially children and female passengers are the worst sufferers, he said.
Abdur Rahman of Taktabunia Bazar in Rangabali upazila said despite repeated pleas, the authorities concerned are yet to take any steps in this regard.
Locals said many traders of Rangabali and Mowdubi areas take their goods from Kalapara town and most wholesale grocery shops lie near the sawmill area.
The traders prefer to use the sawmill area as they do not have to pay more money for loading and unloading goods but the traders will have to spend extra money for carrying cost while loading and unloading from the ghat as the place is far away from the sawmill area.
Abdul Jabbar, supervisor of ML Tushar-2, a single-decker launch on Kalapara-Mowdubi route, said as per instruction from the leaser of the launch ghat, the launch anchors in sawmill area instead of the gaht.
Contacted, leaser Tanvir Munshi said “I asked the launch authority to use the terminal but they don’t listen to me.”
He declined to make any further comment on the issue.
Contacted, Kwaja Sadiqur Rahman, deputy director of BIWTA in Patuakhali, said they have already got an allegation over the matter.
They will take action after investigating the incident, he said.