The government has taken measures to ensure the navigability of 10,000 kilometers of waterways through digging 178 rivers, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told the Parliament on February 9.
He said this replying to a tabled question from Awami League MP Nurunnabi Chowdhury (Bhola-3).
"The present government adopted a dredging master plan to protect the navigability of inland waterways of the country. The navigability of some 10,000 kilometres of waterways will be made through digging 178 rivers by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) in line with the master plan," he said.
In reply to another starred question from treasury bench member M Abdul Latif (Chattogram-11), the state minister said the dredging works of 470-kilometre waterways under Bangladesh-India river protocol route will be done with the joint financing of Bangladesh and India.
The total of 470 kilometres of waterways -- 285-kilometre Ashuganj-Zakiganj route of Kalni and Kushiara rivers, and 185 kilometres Sirajganj-Daikhawa route in the Jamuna River—will be dredged," he said.
Responding to a starred question from Awami League MP Kazi Nabil Ahmed (Jashore-3), the state minister said the length of the country's inland waterway is some 24,000 kilometres during monsoon, but it comes down to 6,000 kilometres during the dry season.
The minister also asserted that the government has taken various measures for the water vessels to move uninterruptedly.
In reply to a question from the ruling party MP Benjir Ahmed (Dhaka-20), the state minister said the government has taken initiatives to build different types of 39 water vessels.
Besides, steps have been taken to procure the required number of hover crafts to speed up and facilitate inland and coastal transportation.
Khalid Mahmud said the government has also taken a move to procure six large ships to operate on international routes.
However, the government has a plan to procure four more new cellular container ships, he added.