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Bangladesh: Irregularities in river dredging

Posted on October 19, 2023

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) is dredging the Aricha-Kazirhat route in order to create a new channel on the River Jamuna.

But the dredging activity raised questions about when concerned officials, employees and workers are throwing away the extracted sand and mud into river again.  So, the allocating money for the projects has actually been wasted.

It seems that the concerned officials are deliberately doing this only to keep the projects alive that cannot be tolerated at all. The ferry service between Aricha and Kazirhat route was launched in 1963 for the first time with a single ferry. When the Jamuna Bridge opened for traffic in 1997, the importance of Aricha Ghat began to decline.

Besides, the navigability crisis in the Jamuna river halted the ferry service on the route, hampering movement of all sorts of water vessels. So, the shipping ministry has taken all the steps to restart the ferry service on the Aricha-Kazirhat route.

If the ministry does not take immediate action against the concerned officials and employees, who are asking workers to dump the extracted sand and mud into river again, government’s all efforts will go in vain. Launches and speedboats ply the Aricha-Kazirhat route currently.

But the ferry can not ply the route due to navigability crisis. The pressure on the Jamuna Bridge will be reduced if ferries start operating on the Aricha-Kazirhat route. Besides, passengers will get relieved of traffic jams in the bridge area.

People of Pabna, Sirajganj, Kushtia and several nearby districts will benefit if the Aricha-Kazirhat route resumes operations. With about 24,00km of waterways Bangladesh boasts of a wide network river routes. Waterways have been the common, traditional and cheaper mode of transportation for the people here.

Though many initiatives were taken several times with a high hope to bring back navigability to many rivers in order to open up new routes, mismanagement, irregularities and halfhearted measure have not yielded any positive result. In this context, the concerned ministry will have to look into matter immediately.

If officials are found guilty in the activities of dredging works, they should not be spared.


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