The government has undertaken a three-year project worth Tk 444 million to bring the country's water vessels under registration with an aim to increase revenue income.
The Ministry of Shipping on Sunday informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Shipping Ministry about the project titled 'National Ships and Mechanised Boats Database Management and Capacity Building' during a meeting.
The Shipping Ministry, under the project that will end by July 2019, has been conducting a ship-census.
The committee was informed about the project during the 34th meeting of the parliamentary body with its Chairman Major (Retd) Rafiqul Islam (Bir Uttam) in the chair.
The committee chairman later told the media that the ministry has already started the census.
He said that the committee also recommended installing automatic fire extinguishers at the land ports to avert incident(s) of fire if there's any.
Committee sources said the objective of the project is to prepare a database with general and technical information of all the engine-run and inland water vessels including speed boats, to increase revenue income by getting all the water vessels registered and to introduce online registration system.
Besides, he said, yet another objective is to strengthen the shipping sector and bring it under modern monitoring system.
There are over 10,000 water vessels at present operating in different routes across the country, a ministry source said.
The ministry also informed the committee that necessary land has been acquired to develop and expand the country's land ports under the land port authority.
The total land owned by the land port authority at present is 261.73 acres with the number of land ports now 23 under the authority. Meanwhile, the meeting also discussed the progress of 'Global Marine Distressed and Safety System (GMDSS)' project worth Tk 3.71 billion.
The project, undertaken with the joint funding of South Korean government and its Bangladesh counterpart, was yet to begin although it was supposed to end by December this year.
Four companies participated in tender of the project, objective of which was to ensure safety in the coastal areas and to improve the overall shipping management system.
The ministry, however, informed the committee that it was now evaluating the tender documents.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment at a meeting decided to finalise the proposed bill on ensuring welfare and social safety of the informal sector workers like domestic workers, rickshaw pullers and hawkers in consultation with all stakeholders.
After the meeting, committee member Israfil Alam told the media that these informal sector labourers still remained out of the purview of the law although a labour law was in place in the country.
These people, he said, are the victims of discrimination and negligence. Enactment of a law is necessary for their welfare, he observed.
The meeting was chaired by the committee chief Monnojan Sufian.