Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has decided to operate speedboats (high-speed boats) on circular waterways around the capital to transport passengers. The service will be officially inaugurated at Tongi river port on Saturday morning.
Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, Director of Maritime Safety and Traffic Management Department of BIWTA, confirmed this information.
Rafiqul Islam said, for the time being, this service will be started on an experimental basis with five speedboats on two routes. There are plans to expand it later. The two initially scheduled routes are Tongi-Kadda and Tongi-Ulukhola. After that, this service will be started on Kodda-Gabatli and Gabtali-Sadarghat route. Although the route is fixed, the fare has not been decided yet.
According to BIWTA sources, this service is being launched through private company M/s Infinity Maritime. The speedboats which will be run by the company used to ply at Mawa Ghat. The demand for speedboats at Mawa Ghat has reduced after the Padma Bridge was commissioned. On the other hand, due to road traffic congestion in Dhaka city, there is considerable potential for seamless passenger transportation in circular waterways. This initiative has been taken to utilize that possibility.
BIWTA public relations officer Mobarak Hossain Majumder said that the opening ceremony will be held at Tongi river port on Saturday at 11 am. State Minister of Youth and Sports Ministry Zahid Ahsan, State Minister of Shipping Ministry Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Secretary of Shipping Ministry. Mustafa Kamal, BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadek and other senior officials will be present.
In 2000, the circular waterway around the capital was started to reduce traffic pressure. It was said that people can easily travel from one end of Dhaka to the other through this waterway. Four rounds of water buses and launches were launched on the circular waterway in 2004, 2010, 2013 and 2014. But all are closed within a few days. Now the speedboat is being lowered.