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Dhaka Tribune

Padma Bridge: Upto 30 launch services from Sadarghat forced to fold

Decline in passengers’ number on waterways having a negative effect on BIWTC revenues

Update : 30 Aug 2022, 03:54 AM

State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury on Monday told the Parliament that Bangladesh’s southern region-bound passengers on almost all waterways declined significantly due to the advent of the Padma Bridge.

He said: “On an average 85-90 launches were plying from Dhaka River Port to the southern region every day (before the bridge opened). But now on average 60-65 launches are plying daily on those routes from Sadarghat in Dhaka.”

The state minister said this in reply to a scripted question from Awami League lawmaker Sayeda Rubina Akter.

The construction of the dream bridge has enabled the south-bound passengers to reach their respective destinations by road quickly.

He added: “However, the number of passengers has decreased significantly in almost all waterways, except for a few, as the passenger movement on the waterways takes more time.”

Khalid Mahmud also said the movement of 87 launches and 155 speed boats on the Shimulia-Banglabazar and Shimulia-Mazhikandi routes had stopped since the inauguration of Padma Bridge.

However, there is a possibility to increase the waterway passengers slightly within the next six months, he mentioned.

The feasibility study continues to create new river routes for passenger and cargo transportation at affordable prices, he added.

The state minister said since the launch of the “dream” Padma Bridge, even the number of passengers on “the Rocket”, a famed steamer of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) on the Dhaka-Morrelganj-Dhaka Inland Water Route, has come down significantly, as potential passengers can now simply do the journey by road, saving both time and money.

"Similarly, a ferry service that used to run between Mawa and Majhirkandi has also been forced to stop due to drastically reduced demand, and the movement of vessels on the Paturia-Daulatdia ferry route has declined significantly. This is all having a negative effect on BIWTC revenues; however it was a cause for complaint," he added.

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