The Ministry of Shipping on Sunday decided to make national identity cards or birth certificates a prerequisite for launch-travel on different routes of the country, as part of its efforts to ensure the security of passengers with the precautionary measure.
"The decision will come into effect before the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr," State Minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told the media after a ministerial meeting with launch owners and staffers at the Secretariat.
"We have taken the initiative as several accidents occurred at launch cabins at different times," he said, adding that launch authorities would keep the records of the identity numbers.
"In case of an accident, the new system will help learn about the passengers."
Mentioning that several other steps were taken to ensure a safe travel system ahead of the upcoming Eid, the state minister said all the launches on a route would have to charge the same fare – fixed by the government. "The decision has been made so that no launch can take extra passengers than their capacity, by offering discounts."
Besides, launch movement from or to the Mawa Ghat would also be allowed during nighttime. "However, no speed boat or sand-laden trawler would move at night."
Khalid Mahmud said they would talk to the authorities concerned about whether the number of ferries on the route could be increased from the existing six.
The state minister, however, was hopeful that there would be no extra pressure on launch and ferries, as RMG factories go into Eid vacation from 27 April.