The overall length of river routes in the country has declined by 7428 kilometres since 1975.
“According to the mileage table published by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) in 1975, the length of the country’s river route was 13660 km (8485 miles). But as per the latest statistics of BIWTA, the length of river route is about 6232 km,” Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan told Parliament on Wednesday.
Shajahan Khan said the passengers of the river routes were more than 98 lakh in 1971, but the figure has come down to about 22 lakh in 2012.
Some 9.14 lakh tons of cargo were transported through rivers in 1971, while 1.7 crore tons in 2012, he noted.
The minister said nearly 310 kilometres of the river and ferry routes were dredged by the BIWTA in the last five year.
Replying to a tabled starred question of Nurul Islam Milon (Comilla-8), he many that 73 people have so far been killed in launch capsizes this year, while only 20 were killed in 2013.
Responding to another starred question from Abdur Rahman (Faridpur-1), Shajahan Khan said some 73 acres of land of Dhaka and Narayanganj river ports now remain illegally occupied.
Of these illegally occupied lands, 25.55 acres belonged to Dhaka river port and 48 acres to Narayanganj river port.