Bangladesh

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Lack of river navigability disrupts communications

Commodity prices rise

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:34, Oct 19,2020

 
 

Severe communication disruption due to lack of navigability on major water channels in the country has not only increased the woes of passengers and transport workers travelling between Dhaka and the south-western districts, it also impacted the price of commodities.

In Shariatpur, closures of water routes led to a spike in the prices of essentials.

On Sunday for the third consecutive day a huge tailback of hundreds of vehicles were seen at Paturia and Daulatdia ferry terminal areas following the suspension of ferry services on Shimulia-Kathalbari water channel.

In addition, at least five routes on the river Kirtinasha and the tributaries of the river Padma in Shariatpur districts also closed down due to the navigability crisis which increased the prices of essentials in the locality. 

Local people and businesspeople demanded immediate action to end their sufferings.

Officials of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority blamed ‘abnormal’ weather patterns, including late floods and erosions, for the situation.

Since late August this year, ferry services on Shimulia-Kathalbari channel experience continual disruption in the last few months due to erosion and strong current, they said.

They also said that the ferry services on Shimulia-Kathalbari channel remained closed between dusk and dawn to avoid accidents almost throughout this period.

Earlier on Thursday, the ferry services on the route snapped due to siltation which forced it to remain closed till Sunday, said Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation’s Shimulia terminal office manager Shafayet Ahmed.

New Age correspondent in Manikganj reported that since Friday huge tailbacks of vehicles were seen at Paturia and Daulatdia ferry terminals.

On Sunday afternoon, around 1,000 vehicles, mostly goods-laden trucks, were seen stuck in long tailbacks from Utholi intersection to Paturia terminal on the Dhaka-Aricha national highway where a five-kilometre tailback was created. 

BIWTC Aricha regional office manager Zillur Rahman said that daily 600 to 700 extra vehicles arrive at Paturia and Daulatdia terminals to cross the river due to suspended ferry services on Shimulia-Kathalbari route.

They were struggling to handle the pressure, he said.

On Sunday, BIWTA chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq and BIWTC chairman Khaja Miah visited Shimulia-Kathalbari channel along with senior officials from both authorities.  

BIWTA chief engineer (dredging) Md Abdul Matin said that they had already begun excavation works on a new route through Hazra point, an alternative to Shimulia-Kathalbari route, scheduled for an inaugurated in the first week of November.

New Age correspondent in Shariatpur reported that recently vessel movement on five routes on the river Kirtanasha and the tributaries of the Padma closed down due to huge siltation and lack of navigability since September.

With difficulties in communications, locals also suffered as prices of essentials spiked following the disruption faced by the goods-carrying vehicles. 

The routes that were closed down include — Dhaka-Noriya, Dhaka-Kotapara, Dhaka-Bhojeswar and Dhaka-Angariya routes — and their closure disrupted business activities at 12 ports including  Bhojeswar, Angariya, Kazirhat, Bhedarganj, Damuda and Potti.  

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