Launch owners have called off their strike, part of the wider transport strike protesting a 23 percent hike in the price of diesel, following a decision to increase fares by upto 42 percent.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has increased the fares for short distance-journeys by 35.3 percent, and for long distances by 42 percent.
The decision was made at a meeting between the BIWTA authorities and launch owners in the capital on Sunday.
Launch fare has been fixed at Tk 2.30 per kilometre for the first 100 km (from Tk 1.70/km), and then Tk 2/km beyond the first 100 km, which used to be Tk 1.40 .
The minimum fare has also been fixed at Tk 30, a two-thirds increase or 66.7 percent up from the existing Tk 18.
BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq said the new fares will be effective from today (Sunday). A notification will be issued regarding the increased fare soon. Moreover, each launch dock will have the new fare list.
The BIWTA chairman said, “The launch fares were last increased in 2013. After that the fare was not adjusted."
Meanwhile, the chairman said a committee was working anyway to increase the fares in response to the demands of the owners, before the fuel price hike came in. "In the meantime, the price of fuel has been increased. Then the owners urgently demanded a fare adjustment."
"We have taken everything into consideration while fixing the new fares so that the passengers do not suffer, nor the owners face losses," he added.
Earlier, the launch owners suspended their services on Saturday, demanding that the fares be doubled.
A section of leaders of transport workers and owners met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal but the meeting made no headway.