Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation plans to put six waterbuses in operation on the Dhaka circular waterway from May 15. The waterbus service, however, will resume only on the Sadarghat-Gabtoli section of the Sadarghat-Gabtoli-Ashulia-Tongi-Purbachal-Demra-Kanchpur-Mir Kadeem-Fatulla-Sadarghat circular route. Officials said as the BIWTA was dredging the waterway at the moment, it would resume the waterbus service on a short route only.
The ruling Awami League in its election manifesto had pledged to introduce ‘underground railway, mono or circular rail, and a navigable river route around Dhaka’ to solve the scarcity of public transportation and traffic congestion in the capital.
On August 28, 2010, shipping minister Shahjahan Khan had inaugurated the waterbus service on the Sadarghat-Showary Ghat-Kholamura-Gabtoli route with two 35-seat waterbuses. But the BIWTA had to stop the service from February 2012 as it failed to attract enough passengers and shifted the two waterbuses to ply the Mawa-Char Janajat route.
BIWTC director (commercial) Ananda Chandra Biswas told New Age on Saturday that they would put into operation four new and two old waterbuses on the Sadarghat-Gabtoli route from May 15.
‘We also have a plan to ply a total of 10 waterbuses on the entire circular waterway,’ he added.
The BIWTA under its Introduction of Circular Waterways around Dhaka City Project has been working since 2000 to make about 110 kilometre of the waterway navigable while 40 kilometres of the route is naturally navigable.
The first phase of the project ran from 2000 to 2005 and the second phase from 2008 to 2012. The implementation of the second phase of the project was scheduled to be completed by June 30 last year but due to a shortage of dredgers the BIWTA extended the deadline for completing the project work by one year.
‘We now have to remove only 1.2 lakh cubic metres of soil from a 2km stretch of the waterway. We will be able to complete the work by June 30,’ the project director, Rakibul Islam Talukder, told New Age on Saturday.
Three BIWTA dredgers are now engaged in dredging the 2-km section of the waterway, he added.
-With New Age input