The government will take new measures to develop the river routes to further facilitate passenger and goods transportation services in the country's southern region.
Under the move, the Ministry of Shipping (MoS) in a meeting last week decided to initiate some development works for the benefits of launch and steamer passengers as well as cargo and ferry services in the southern districts of Bhola, Laximpur, Barisal, Patuakhali and Barguna.
"We've discussed about ensuring better services for passengers along with ferry and goods transportations on the river routes of the southern districts," a high official of the MoS told the FE.
He said the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) will increase the number of ferry services at several important ferry ghats (berthing place) to facilitate passengers.
Ferry services between Elishaghat of Bhola and Mojuchowdhuryghat of Laximpur will be increased soon. Besides, necessary dredging works will also be carried out in Mojuchowdhuryghat area for ensuring smooth navigability for water vessels.
The MoS official further said a ghat will also be built at Matirhat in Laximpur for ensuring faster ferry services between Bhola and Laximpur.
Launch services between Dhaka and Laximpur will be re-established soon, and there will be passenger launch services on Dhaka-Bhola route during day time, he added.
The meeting also emphasised coordinated efforts among the government agencies concerned for ensuring better services in river transportation sector.
The river routes play an important role in the country's economic activities. Various types of water vessels provide a faster and smoother passenger and goods transportation services at cheaper rates compared with other modes of transports, according to the sector insiders.
They suggested the government to remove the existing problems in the sector on priority basis, so that the sector can help contribute significantly to the country's economic activities.