UTILIZATION OF INLAND WATER PORTS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF BANGLADESH: THE CASE OF BIWTA
Keywords:INLAND WATER PORTS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Improvement of transport facilities is essential for development of Bangladesh and much is done in this regard in roads transportation sector neglecting Inland Water Transportation (IWT). Waterways have been the lifeline of communication of a large segment of rural population of Bangladesh since time immemorial. However, over the period due to siltation and other factors importance of waterborne communication has reduced in many areas of the country. Noteworthy that for the population of the coastal area, IWT serves as the only means of connection with rest of the country. The performance of IWT largely depends on the navigability of the waterways and efﬁciency of inland river ports in terms of the facility provided to vessels and passengers for smooth transportation. Bangladesh Inland Water Transportation Authority (BIWTA) is the Government organ exercising control over the IWT of Bangladesh and is responsible for development and maintenance of the waterways and inland river ports.Neglect of the IWT sector primarily is due to fund and resource constraint of BIWTA in addition to many other factors including deterioration of navigability due to siltation over the past decades. A large portion of the internal waterways network remains not being surveyed and much costly dredging work is directed towards meeting immediate needs with limited survey. The inland river ports developed over the period with the rising need of the population, also mostly remain as its was ﬁrst developed as per the need of the time of that period and are far from meeting the need in terms of passenger comfort and cargo transportation. All these have contributed to the reduced effectiveness of IWT, thereby hindering free ﬂow of passengers and goods vital for economic development of the country. It is therefore essential that present state of inland waterways network and the inland river ports scattered across the country need to be explored to evaluate areas for required development in line with the capability of BIWTA.
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