Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives Minister Md Tajul Islam has said the bridges obstructing waterway transportation around Dhaka will be demolished and new ones will replace them.
Md Tajul Islam, also chairman of the committee constituted to develop a master plan to reduce river pollution, improve navigability, said this after a meeting of the committee at the ministry on Sunday, says a press release.
The minister said, "Low-height bridges have been obstructing the movement of water vessels around Dhaka. After these are demolished, new ones will be constructed on the rivers."
He added that some bridges hang low on the rivers around Dhaka – the Buriganga, Turag, Balu, Dhaleshwari and Pungli – impeding waterway transportation.
The committee chairman said a body will be formed to verify any duplication/overlapping of projects undertaken by various ministries and departments for the development of the capital city, including freeing rivers from grabbers.
Md Tajul Islam said there is no alternative to coordination among all the government organisations to eliminate mismanagement in the projects.
The committee has therefore sought a list of projects adopted by the ministry, city corporation, and other organizations to bring all initiatives under the purview of the master plan, he added.
The local government minister said 90 percent of the rivers around Dhaka have been freed from encroachment, and there are challenges in some spots due to the presence of mosques, temples, and religious institutions. However, the Covid-19 has slowed down the drives for river pollution reduction, navigability improvement.
Md Tajul Islam said a project has been undertaken to connect recognized canals in the capital. Water transport for these canals will be launched and walkways will be constructed on both sides for the convenience of pedestrians and the general public.
The minister said work on the 10-year plan has already started and it will be completed within the stipulated time.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Dhaka South City Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, Narayanganj City Mayor Selina Hayat Ivy, Gazipur City Mayor Jahangir Alam, senior secretary to the Local Government Division, secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, secretary to the livestock ministry, chairman of National River Commission, and chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), among others, attended the meeting.