A total of 4,732 people were killed in 639 waterway accidents in the country over the last 42 years.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury came up with the statistics in parliament while responding to a query from treasury bench member Didarul Alam (Chattogram-4).
“Legal action is being taken against those responsible for waterway accidents after identifying them. A total of 4,732 people were killed in all the 639 major and minor river accidents from 1976 to 2018,” he said.
Besides, the state ministers said, 26,897 cases were filed with the Marine Court during the same period in connection with the accidents and other offences on the river routes. “Of the cases, 448 were filed in connection with the river accidents.”
He said 204 cases relating to the waterway accidents have already disposed of by courts pushing those responsible for the accidents. “The convicted accused in the cases were fined and sentenced to jail for different terms. The rest of the cases are still under trial.”
Khalid said work on creating a database of exact number of river vessels is underway for the development of the river communication system.
He said Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) with the help of local administration conducts mobile court on river routes so that no vessel can operate without fitness.
Replying to another question about the ongoing drive against river grabbers, the state minister said no influential quarter will be able to stop BIWTA’s ongoing eviction drive to protect rivers across the country.
“We’ll continue the drives as we want to save the rivers and no influence by any powerful quarter can stop the drive,” Khalid added.
He said the government is going to launch the eviction drive across the country to protect the rivers.