Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan on Wednesday said Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) needs at least 100 dredgers to dredge the country’s rivers to maintain their navigability.
“The BIWTA has only 21 dredgers. A process is underway to procure 20 more dredgers,” he told a seminar organised by Netherlands-based dredgers company IHC at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Shajahan Khan said once there was some 700 rivers in the country with 24,000 kilometres of river routes, but it now declines to 6,000 kilometres during monsoon while only 3,900 kilometres during the dry season.
He said the government is working sincerely to restore and develop the country’s all river routes.
The Shipping Minister said the BIWTA is implementing a river dredging programme and dredged 1,200 kilometres of river routes during 2009-2015.
Urging private entrepreneurs to come forward to dredge rivers, he said the government is implementing dredging projects on 53 river routes costing over Tk 11,000 crore.
Netherlands Ambassador in Dhaka Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere,executive director of Karnafuly Shipbuilders (Pvt) Ltd (KSBL) Engr MA Rashid and chairman of SS Rahman Limited Rakibul Alam Dipu, among others, spoke at the seminar.