According to State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury's statement on Tuesday, there are 60,000 river grabbers across the country, of whom 20,000 grabbers have already been evicted.
The state minister made these remarks as the chief guest while addressing a survey workshop on "Assessing the feasibility of river management by increasing the navigability, reducing water logging, restoring wetland ecosystems and increasing irrigation and landing facilities of rivers in Barisal Division,".
The workshop was organised by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) in the conference room of Barisal Circuit House.
"All the rivers of the country will be gradually freed from illegal occupants, not just in the capital," said the state minister adding, "Eviction of illegal occupants of the river are underway in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Chittagong."
BIWTA has undertaken a project titled ' Increasing navigability, minimal water logging, restoration of wetland ecosystems, irrigation, and landing facilities of the rivers in Barisal for sustainable management,' under the Ministry of Shipping.
Chowdhury said, "Waterways are the main mode of transport in the southern part of the country. Due to the increasing use of Mongla port and the development of Payra port, the importance of rivers in the use of waterways in the region has significantly increased."
"Sustainable management will be fostered by increasing the navigability facilities of 31 waterways of Barisal division," he added.
Various equipment is being collected to free the rivers from grabbers, and several equipment has already been collected. With the implementation of these development activities, the transportation system of passengers and goods by water with Barisal, the second river port of the country, will be affordable, people-friendly, and safe, he further added.
Amitabh Sarkar, divisional commissioner, Barisal presided over the workshop.
Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, mayor, Barisal City Corporation, Commodore Golam Sadeq, chairman BIWTA, Jasim Uddin Haider, deputy commissioner, Barisal, Maruf Hossain, superintendent of police and others addressed the programme.