over Pinak tragedy
A lawyer has served a legal notice on the secretary to the shipping ministry, seeking the removal of eight government employees, including six of the BIWTA, over the sinking of passenger ferry Pinak-6.
The six BIWTA officials include its chairman, transport inspector (Mawa-Kewranakdi river route), Mawa river port officer, director (port division), director (river safety and traffic division), and director (river conservation and operations department).
The others whose dismissal has been sought are inspector of sea transport directorate (Mawa-Kewranandi route) and Mawa zone’s engineer and vessel surveyor.
The ill-fated Pinak-6 went down in the Padma River at Mawa with over 300 people on board on Aug 4.
Until Tuesday, 48 bodies were recovered, while 61 are still unaccounted for, according to official figures.
Search for the sunken vessel was called off on Aug 11.
Supreme Court lawyer Md Enamul Haq Molla served the notice on Wednesday on behalf of two organisations — the Citizens Rights Movement, and the National Committee for Protecting River, Road and Railways.
It said no rescue ship was at Mawa, though it was Eid season rush time and the weather was rough, resulting in delayed the rescue operations.
It would have been possible to start rescue efforts immediately after the accident and locate the sunken ferry had there been a rescue vessel at Mawa at that time, the notice pointed out.
The notice blamed the BIWTA director of river conservation and operations division for this failure, while the BIWTA chairman was held ‘institutionally’ responsible.
On the other hand, the rest has been blamed for allowing an overcrowded passenger ferry to operate in bad weather.
The shipping ministry secretary has been requested to remove these eight officials within 72 hours and take actions against them.
It said the plaintiff would move the High Court if the notice was not complied with.