The Mawa launch terminal will be rendered useless and eventually forced to shut down in the absence of passengers once the Padma Bridge opens to traffic connecting Dhaka with southern districts, vessel operators and workers say.
While bus owners expect a boost in business after the bridge’s June 25 opening, launch and speed boat operators at Shimulia (Mawa) Ghat helplessly scramble for alternative livelihood options.
They fear that direct road communication between Dhaka and 17 southern districts over the Padma Bridge will hit the traditional and popular water vessel business.
And their fear seems well founded.
Many launch and speedboat passengers at Mawa Ghat told the UNB correspondents that once the bridge opens, they will opt for direct and comfortable road communication instead of lengthy and risky travel through the murky waterways.
“Since there was no bridge over the river, we had no choice but to travel by launches braving many hassles and wasting many hours. So, when the bridge will be opened to traffic, we won’t use the launch service anymore,” Abul Kalam, a private bank employee told UNB.
Kalam, who was going to Madaripur by a launch from Mawa Ghat, said he now needs to change the modes of vehicle thrice to go to his village from Dhaka’s Jatrabari area. “It’s also a time-consuming journey. But we’ll be able to go to our home and return to Dhaka by direct bus services within a short time without any hassles when the bridge will be opened.”