Not only transport owners, the launch workers in Khulna have also embarked on a 48-hour strike since Friday morning, demanding a hike in wages.
DelwarHossain, divisional organisational secretary of Bangladesh Launch Labour Association, said they called the strike to press home their ten-point demands, including wage hike, "and it has no connection with the BNP’s mass rally slated for Saturday".
A total of 15 launches ply on a southern route from Khulna but none of them left terminals since this morning, giving passengers a harrowing time.
The workers on strike said their demands included wage hike, river excavation from Bhairab to Nowapara, and landing pass for India-bound launches.
From Thursday evening, none of the passenger carrying launches left Khulna due to the strike announcement but freight launches and boats have been operating.
SM Shafiqulislam Mona, BNP’s Khulna metropolitan unit convener, said on government’s signal, "first, bus owners called a strike and now the launch services are also shut to obstruct the BNP’s mass rally on Saturday".
“The mass rally will be made successful at any cost, defying all these obstructions,” he added.
Earlier, Khulna Bus-Minibus Owners' Association and the Motor Workers’ Union decided to go on a two-day strike in protest against the plying of unauthorised three-wheelers in the district.