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>rioting workers set ablaze 2 launches

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>TWO launches were set ablaze and six others looted on the Buriganga yesterday as thousands of shop owners and workers at South Keraniganj demonstrated against the closure of a jetty near Sadarghat launch terminal. (Read full report)
Attacks from the protesters left at least 40 people including three cops and 30 launch staffers injured. A good number of vessels were vandalised during the demonstrations.
The launch operators kept their vessels away from the spot and suspended services for nine hours
protesting the ransacking and torching of vessels.
The services resumed at 8:45pm.

Badizzaman Badal, acting chairman of Bangladesh Abhyantarin Nou-chalachal Jatri Paribahan Sangstha, told The Daily Star last night, “As the BIWTA assured us of meeting our demand for security and keeping the jetty closed, we resumed launch services.”
Hundreds of passengers were stranded for hours following the suspension of launch services.

However, during a meeting earlier in the afternoon between BIWTA officials, deputy
commissioner of Dhaka, joint forces and business leaders it was decided that one of the pontoons blocking the Simpson Road Masjid Ghat jetty would be removed immediately while a permanent terminal for boats would be set up at a convenient place within the next 30 days.
Meanwhile, shops and factories of the area remained closed
Traders of the area threatened to go for tougher actions if the pontoons were not removed. They said they would not open their trading houses unless the jetty was reopened.

A three-member committee has been formed to investigate the incidents, said Mahbubul Alam, director (port and transport) of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).


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