POST TIME: 29 May, 2016 00:00 00 AM
World Bank to give Bangladesh $360m for waterway project

World Bank to give Bangladesh $360m for waterway project

The World Bank (WB) will provide US$ 360 million to Bangladesh for the first regional inland water transport (IWT) project, which is expected to enhance inland water transport services along the Dhaka-Chittagong-Ashuganj regional IWT corridor.
Additional secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), Kazi Shaqul Azam, told The Independent that discussions on signing the agreement with the WB have been completed.
Bangladesh has a large and vibrant IWT sector. In all, it carries over 50 per cent of the country’s cargo traffic and a quarter of all passenger traffic.
The government has identified 65 main river navigation routes that are essential for passenger and freight transport within Bangladesh. Of these, the Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Ashuganj corridors (with extensions to Narayanganj and Barisal) have been identified as high-priority routes for domestic trade and bilateral trade with India.
About 80 per cent of the country’s IWT traffic is routed through these corridors and around 200,000 passengers use these routes daily. The inland river terminals at Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chandpur, and Barisal play a very important role in transporting and handling passenger and cargo along these routes.
The cargo terminal in Ashuganj is a key one for Bangladesh-India trade and it is also connected by road to India’s north-eastern states.
On the project route, the inland river terminals at Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chandpur, and Barisal play very important roles in transporting and handling passenger and cargo. These four river ports, together, transport about 53 million tonnes of cargo and 22 million passengers, annually (2013–2014 figures).
However, the infrastructure at these terminals are not sufficient to meet the growing demand of IWT, as they lack adequate facilities for berthing, parking and storage, and passenger comfort.
Dhaka’s Sadharghat terminal and its surrounding areas are now extremely congested. The spread of commercial and residential settlements has led to traffic congestion and inefficient use of the port facility. There is no space around the current terminal, for further expansion.
The government wants to augment the facilities at Sadarghat by building a new passenger terminal at Shasanghat (2.5 km downstream), develop a cargo terminal at Pangaon, and augment and modernise the existing facilities at Ashuganj, Narayanganj, Chandpur, and Barisal terminals.
In addition to river terminals, there are a number of landing stations along the project corridor which will be crucial for people living in the rural and remote areas. The seven-year project will develop two cargo terminals, four passenger terminals, and 14 landing ghats.
The facilities will specifically incorporate the needs of women users (such as toilet facilities, women-only waiting rooms, etc.) and differently-abled users, and address safety-related issues for all users.