Published : Thursday, 25 December, 2014, Time : 12:00 AM, View Count : 14
Mohosinul Karim The government has decided to revoke the existing leasing system for ferry terminals across the country to avert harassment of passengers and additional toll collection by lessees. Initially, the leasing of Mangalmajhi at Shariatpur, Kathalbari and Kawrakandi at Madaripur ferry terminals will go null and void from July 1, 2015. Such leasing system for other ferry terminals will also be withdrawn later in phases, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan told the Daily Observer on Wednesday. He said, "We've decided to withdraw leasing system from all the ferry terminals in phases so that lessees cannot harass passengers. There are allegations that some lessees resort to torturing the passengers to collect extra toll from them." According to the ministry, some pro-government local leaders and workers association have leased out 12 ferry terminals countrywide. Replying to a query on probable operational system of those terminals, Shajahan Khan said, "Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) will re-adjust the tolls that are to be realised from different vehicles. We have decided to raise some charges on berthing and conservancy." However, the minister said that amount of such charges would not be very high. After raising the charges an additional amount of around Tk 2 crore revenue could be earned merely from Kawrakandi ferry terminal annually, Khan said, adding: "Now we are earning only Tk35lakh annually from this ferry terminal." The total amount to be realised as revenue from 12 ferry terminal would stand at Tk 10 crore a year, he added. Earlier, a meeting was held on scrapping the existing leasing system of ferry terminals at the shipping ministry, with the Shipping Minister in the chair. Additional Secretary to the Ministry Rafiqul Islam, BIWTA Chairman Samsuddoha Khondaker and other high officials attended the meeting, among others. Earlier on July 6 this year, a decision on scrapping of such leasing system was taken but it could not be executed for procedural bottlenecks and pressure from political touts, a ministry official said, preferring not to be named.