Hundreds of big and small rivers flowing throughout the country like nets have blessed us with every need of human survival from the time immortal. Their contribution was widely spread from food production to protein supply, from business to communication. But in course of time these rivers have lost their importance for different reasons, of which the need for improved road-based communication systems is a major one. The natural course of almost every river has been interrupted by constructing bridges over them and embankments on the banks. Consequently, many rivers have already dried up and many others are on the line, making our communication system too dependent on road transports and contributing a lot to increase in the number of natural calamities. Though the issue was neglected for years, the policymakers now seem to change their minds; at least a few initiatives apparently give this idea.
Karnaphuli tunnel, the first-ever of its kind in Bangladesh, is being constructed under the Karnaphuli river, which is a few steps away from completion. Now the government is planning to construct more tunnels instead of bridges. According to the lead news published in this newspaper yesterday, the Minister for Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Kader said in a public function, the government is looking into possibilities to construct a tunnel from Paturia to Daulatdia under the Padma rather than Padma-2 Bridge for the sake of navigability of one of the major river of the country. They reportedly have a plan to construct another tunnel from Jamalpur to Gaibandha under the Jamuna. Preferring tunnel to bridge is really a good decision that should be taken in all possible places, as far as our river management is concerned.