State minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury yesterday told the parliament that a total of 4,711 people were killed in accidents in river ways in the last 44 years.
A total of 539 people were injured and 482 went missing in 657 accidents in river ways, he said in scripted answer to a query of Awami League lawmaker Nurunnabi Chowdhury.
The state minister said that inclement weather, carrying excess passengers, shortage of skilled operators and uncontrolled operation of vessels were some major reasons behind the accidents.
Responding to a question of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal lawmaker Shirin Akhter Khalid, he said the government has taken an initiative to install CCTV cameras at all major river ports -- aiming to ensure the security of passengers who travel on different river routes from the terminals.
The government has taken initiatives to modernise all river ports to provide improved services to the waterway passengers, Khalid said.
He said Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority is implementing a project to construct six modern “Vessel storm shelters” in accident-prone areas on river routes.
He said the government has also planned to disseminate awareness messages among passengers by installing TV monitors at launches and terminals. Khalid said naval police, coast guard and other law enforcing agencies have strengthened their surveillance on the river routes to ensure the security of the waterway passengers.