River routes halved over last six decades

It costs at least Tk 450 to go to Barishal from Dhaka by road. By river, it is only costs only Tk 220 to cross the same distance on water. Although river routes offer cheap and safe travel, waterways have never been important to policymakers of the country. The length of roads has increased every year since the country’s independence, but waterways have shrunk. Vessels can operate along less than a quarter of the total length of the rivers in Bangladesh.

The waterways have shrunk due to constant encroachment, filling, change in the course of rivers. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the length of waterways in Bangladesh was about 12,000 km in 1960. In the next three decades, the length decreased to 6,000 km. In 2005, the length reached 5,968 km during the rainy season and 3,865 km in the dry season.

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