Noted citizens on Friday said that sustainable development was not possible ignoring the shipping sector of Bangladesh, a riverine and agro-based country, as inland waterways were expanded across the country and rivers are the main natural sources of irrigation.
Speakers made the concern at a discussion on ‘Importance of Water Transport System in Bangladesh’ at Purana Paltan’s Mukti Bhaban in the capital in the morning.
National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways, a non-government right body, organized the function marking the second death anniversary of its founding president Dr Abdur Rahim, also a former teacher of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
AKM Fakhrul Islam, chief engineer of Department of Shipping, said that the government lonely was not capable to protect rivers and developing shipping sector.
‘Political parties’ role should be positive in this sector,’ he said.
He said that the government might play the main role in doing so and urged the social organizations, including environmental activists and professionals, to come forward to develop the sector.
Ruhin Hossain Prince, secretariat member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) said that previous governments emphasized on road transport system ignoring shipping sector.
He blamed some multinational automobile companies’ conspiracy and a number dishonest bureaucrats’ and politicians’ greed for money behind it.
The CPB leader recognized that present government emphasized on the development of water transport system, including protection of rivers and natural water resources.
But expected success is not being achieved due to looters and land grabbers who are patronized by some corrupt politicians and government officials, he alleged.
Dr Mir Tareque Ali, a professor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering department of BUET, said that waterways were comparatively comfortable, low-costly and environment-friendly.
He remarked that waterway accidents were fewer than that of roads. ‘So everyone should be attentive for developing water transport system on top priority basis,’ he added.
The naval expert urged all corners, including government, to take proper initiatives in this regards.
Engineer M Inamul Haque, former director general of Water Resource Planning Organization, said that rivers and inland waterways were mostly neglected while passengers and goods carrying were mainly dependent on waterways at coastal and remote areas in the country.
Though present government is positive, the rivers are being destroyed and waterways being narrowed due to some corrupted bureaucrats, engineers, politicians and land grabbers, he alleged.
No sustainable development is possible by ignoring rivers and water transport system, added the water resource expert.
Chaired by Haji Mohamad Shahid Mia, advisory council member of the national committee and moderated by its general secretary Ashis Kumar Dey, the function was addressed, among others, by Citizens Rights Movement president Major (rtd) Md Mofijul Haque Sarker, NCPSRR joint secretary Murshikul Islam Shimul and Jassy Sikder, former director of BIWTA Md Mahabubul Alam, BAPA joint secretary Mihir Biswas.
Dr Rahim passed away on July 15, 2015, at the age of 58 due to massive cardiac arrest. He devoted himself for developing shipping sector until his death.