Decentralization of approval and monitoring system of the vessels and skilled launch driver demanded


Dhaka, 25 February 2015: Ten coastal and right based organisations have termed the recent launch accident in Manikganj as a `Structural Killing’. They also urged to decentralize the approval and monitoring system of the vessels and to ensure skilled driver for all launches during a press conference held in the national press club, today.

The Press conference titled “Decentralization of approval and monitoring system of the vessels and skilled drivers are enough to protect launch accidents ” was organized by Akash, Arpan, Udayan Bangladesh, Safe water way movement , DOCAP, PULS Bangladesh, SOMAJ, CDP, Safe water way implementation alliance and COAST Trust.

Aminur Rasul babul of Safe water way movement moderated the press conference while Md. Mujibul Haque Munir of the Safe water way implementation alliance presents the keynotes. The other speakers were Rezaul karim Chowdhury of EquityBD and Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation.

In his keynote presentation Mujibul Haque Munir said, the recent incident of launch capsize is a structural killing, not a mere accident. The two vessels collided in clear day light while the river was also very calm. It was nothing but carelessness, stubbornness and unaccepted behaviour of the drivers. We have learnt that the MV Mustafa was running with a faulty and expired design. He said, immediately after every accident investigation committees are formed but we have got merely any result from those committees. So far about 500 such committees have been formed but only three reports was published. Many committees have not even submitted their report. Scenario of the recommendations came from these committees are also frustrating. There almost no action against respective govt official and launch owners found guilty.

Mr. Aminur Rasul Babul said, 38.57% dead passengers were male. Lives of the other members of the families without a male are beyond any description, specially in this patriarchal society a family. Who will take responsibilities of the harms and difficulties of these families? Launches smaller than 160 feet must not be allowed to carry passengers in important routs.

Rezual Karim Choudhury said , Corrupted officials have centralized the approval and monitoring systems of the vessels only to ensure their bribed income. Appropriate actions against launch owners have not been taken. A fund is running on in the name of passengers’ welfare collecting fund from general passengers. We must know where this fund is being utilized.

Some recommendations are placed in the press conference for consideration: (1) Bring the faulty launch builders and their designers under law and order and ensure punishment for the negligence of duties as it causes huge deaths; (2) Stop the unfit vessels immediately, ensure experienced drivers and seize the faulty and risky launches and hand over to concerned agencies; (3) Decentralize the designing, approval systems and the monitoring down to District and Upazila level; (4) Deploy enough police force to the Marine Magistrate Court; (5) Establish law for providing compensation to the families of died and wounded by the launch capsize; (6) Enforce registering every passengers before a launch start for; (7) Deploy additional inspectors and police in the jetties during Eid and Puja festivals and stormy seasons; and (8) Ensure highest coordination among all agencies involved in the waterways.