Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked Muslims to celebrate the upcoming Eid-ul Fitr in their present locations to help check the spread of coronavirus across the country.
“We all shouldn’t travel risking our lives on the occasion of Eid. Celebrate Eid where you’re now,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating a good number of infrastructures and water vessels of different agencies under the Shipping Ministry through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban.
Sheikh Hasina said people can meet their near and dear ones later when the situation will get normal.
“In order to stop the spread of coronavirus throughout the country, I would like to request you all to abide by health protection rules and not to travel from one place to another unless there’s an urgent matter,” she said.
The Prime Minister said no one knows who is carrying the virus during their journeys. “When an infected person travels to another place, he may make many more infected and thus cause problems to their lives. This is why the government has taken steps to limit the movement of people,” she said.
Mentioning that now the Covid-19 pandemic is inflicting severe sufferings on people, Hasina said her government is making all-out efforts to assist people properly.
She said the government has already extended cash support of Tk 2,500 to each of 36.5 lakh families of extreme poor, workless or day-labourers, rickshaw-pullers, van-pullers, transport workers, low-income people who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Besides, the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry continues providing food support to the people in need during this Ramadan. The government is assisting people in different ways, she said.
Hasina urged the affluent section of society to come forward to help the destitute at this time of pandemic.
The infrastructures and water vessels that the PM inaugurated include TS Ilia Ahmed Chowdhury Dada Bhai Training Ship, 20 cutter suction dredgers, 83 dredger-auxiliary vessels, newly-constructed dredger base in Narayanganj, special inspection vessel ‘Paridarshi,’ two passenger vessels ‘MV Tajuddin Ahmad’ and ‘MV Ivy Rahman’, and four marine academies in Pabna, Barishal, Rangpur and Sylhet.
Besides, the Prime Minister inaugurated the distribution of 500 pucca houses, constructed under a rehabilitation project in Paira Port, among the families affected by land acquisition.
Vessel registration mandatory
In an oblique reference to recent waterway accidents, the Prime Minister urged both operators and passengers of the water vessels to remain careful and vigilant over the safety of their lives.
“Those who run or operate water vessels will have to consider the passengers’ safety. The passengers will also have to be careful about their own safety,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said sometimes vessels meet accidents and people lose their lives due to overloading. “All will have to be careful and vigilant in this regard,” she added.
“I think every water vessel will have to be registered,” she said, adding that it creates problems to identify vessels and realise compensation for lack of registration. If we can run water vessels giving operators appropriate training, the rate of accidents will come down,” she said.
The Prime Minister asked all not to allow excess passengers and abide by rules. “Just think once of the pain of those who remain alive losing their dear ones. So, you’ve to have patience. I would like to request you all – both passengers and operators—to remain careful,” she added.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury presided over the function, joining it from the Bangladesh Secretariat.
Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the virtual event, while Shipping Secretary Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury delivered the welcome speech.