The launch owners on Sunday threatened to go on a nationwide strike from June 27, if the government does not meet their demand of an increase in launch fare by this time.
Bangladesh Inland Waterways Passengers Carrier's Association (Biwpca), in a letter sent to the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), said, "If the authorities does not meet its demand, they will stop plying launches from June 27."
The launch owners claimed the number of passengers has declined across the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the launch fares had not been adjusted for the last seven years.
Besides, BIWTA and the local administration have directed the launch owners to carry less passengers in compliance with the hygiene rules. It is not possible to operate launch in such a situation, reads the letter.
Abul Kalam, a member of Biwpca, said it would be difficult to operate launches without increasing the fare as they were incurring losses because of fewer passengers thanks to Covid-19 outbreak.
A BIWTA official, on condition of anonymity, said, "We have received the letter. A bilateral meeting will be held soon in this context and decision will be taken accordingly."