BSS, Dhaka : State Minister for Shipping Affairs Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury on Saturday vowed to bring back the Buriganga river to its former self within 10 years keeping up drives against river encroachment. "We want to bring the river Buriganga to its normal position within 10 years. Eviction drive to retrieve riverbank conveys a message to riverbank encroachers," he told a seminar on "Rivers and Water Tourism in Bangladesh: Opportunity and Challenges" at a city hotel. The state minister said around 10,000 kilometer river ways would be created to boost up the tourism industry through preventing grabbing of river bank and pollution. "If river ways persist, tourism will persist. Tourism has links with economy. Though once Bangladeshis do not think of tourism due to economic insolvency, now things have changed with the change of people's financial condition. Bangladesh economy is now very strong," he said. Khalid said Bangladesh is a land of rivers but "we could not portray the aesthetic beauty of our rivers before the world. We have to showcase the natural beauties of the country. The government is now trying to do so". He said there is now no drought, famine or poverty as the country's economy has a strong footing under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. "Now we are constructing Padma multipurpose bridge utilizing our domestic funds," he added. Khalid said after coming to power in 2008, the government had to face a big challenge to improve the electricity generation and the government had become successful in the sector. Now the government's challenge is to protect the river and natural beauties of the country and it has been working tirelessly to save the rivers and prevent river pollution, he added. Shipping Secretary Md Abdus Samad chaired the function while Dhaka University Tourism and Hospitality Management Department Chairman Professor Md Badruzzaman Bhuiyan presented the keynote paper. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) Pranay Kanti Biswas, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Chairman Commodore M Mahbub-ul Islam, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation Chairman Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, travel magazine Braman Advisor Nawajish Ali Khan and Hotel International Limited Managing Director Md Alamgir addressed the seminar.
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