Mon, 03 October 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

The navigability of river ports

Update : 28 Aug 2022, 14:28

The importance of ports in the economic development of any country cannot be denied. The development of port development is essential in our country. But a major problem of river ports and sea ports is navigability crisis. According to a report released by the Ittefaq, operations at Jessore's Nawapara port came to a standstill due to acute navigability crisis. The movement of goods is severely disrupted. Eight jetties and one pontoon of this port are currently located far from the river bank. For this, labor costs and time are being spent more in product redemption. Lighter ships cannot enter the wharf even during high tide. Sometimes it takes a month to redeem the product. This increases the demurrage of merchant ships, which has a negative impact on commodity prices.

Not only Nawapara riverport, but navigability crisis of other river ports is being considered as an obstacle to speed up the operations of ports. Due to the filling of both sides of the river, span of some bridges, the normal water flow of the river is interrupted, etc., the seaports are becoming vulnerable. A similar problem exists at Baghabari seaport in Sirajganj. The laborers unload the goods from the ship in a precarious manner on temporary platforms made of bamboo mats and planks constructed by the lessees. BIWTA officials said that every year a lot of silt comes and accumulates in rivers due to mountain and flood water. There is no place to remove the silt and throw it away most of the time.

No matter what excuses they give, if we fail to permanently withdraw the navigability of the river, Mongla and potential Paira seaport will also be threatened one day. Businessmen claim that despite the revenue of crores of takas by using the seaport, they are not getting any benefits due to the lack of necessary infrastructure development including construction of sheds and warehouses. In addition to taking such developmental steps, dredging activities and construction of guidewalls should be undertaken on a large scale and in an effective manner to keep the ports operational.

There are various positions including consultants, technicians and even water engineers to supervise at the problems of the ports of our country. But even though they enjoy various facilities, they seem to be indifferent in taking care of these problems. Solving such problems is often not feasible by a single ministry. For this, the need for coordinated initiatives and roles of the concerned ministries is undeniable. We know that there is a system of river research in the country. Such a situation should not arise if the development plan of the seaport is adopted based on the suggestions of those researchers. About 12 and a half kilometers long Nawapara seaport is used to transport various products including fertilizer, cement, coal, wheat. At present, more than two million tons of goods are coming to this port in more than 4,000 ships every year. After being unloaded from large ships at Chittagong and Mongla ports, it is loaded into small barges and cargoes and brought to Nawapara port by river.

All the goods which are imported from India by land, most of them are brought to Nawapara as Darshana land port in railway wagons. Therefore, neglecting the maintenance of this important seaport is not at all desirable. Even if culverts are constructed, they have to be maintained regularly. If so,  why should not necessary steps be taken including regular dredging, river management and measures to prevent erosion in the case of profitable seaports? We have to focus on permanent solutions to protect river resources of our country. 

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