Route to Paira in poor shape
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transportation Authority (BIWTA) hopes to formally inaugurate the Paira seaport established on the mouth of the Ramnabad Channel on the Andharmanik river in Tiakhali union of Patuakhali's Kalapara upazila in the near future. However, the plans for Paira to be a key transhipment point where cargoes are unloaded for transportation by smaller vessels across the country have hit a snag: many of the waterway corridors that were hoped to be relied upon are suffering from siltation.
Due to alluvial shifts at up to 100 points on at least 10 presumed navigable routes, transportation of goods from Paira might not go ahead as originally planned. Waterway transportation from Paira has become difficult and risky due to limited navigability on these waterways which include some routes to Barisal, Mirzagonj, Mongla, Bhola, Chandpur, Damudhya in Shariatpur, Lakshmipur and Madaripur.
On February 7, the BIWTA identified these crisis points in a letter to the planning department in the hope that action could be taken to maintain navigability, as at present goods-laden vessels cannot pass by safely.
“Onward transportation of cargo from Paira may be greatly hampered once Paira seaport begins operations,” says MA Abdul Hai, director for conservancy and piloting from the BIWTA.
Immediate steps are needed to improve navigability of these routes considering the importance of Paira and the comparative cost advantages of waterway transportation, he says.
BIWTA's Deputy Director Abdur Razzak agrees that navigability maintenance is important for the same reasons.