Low-lying areas in Dhaka: Fear of flooding fuels surge in boat sales


Boat builders busy at work at Kayetpara market. In light of the flooding situation in Sylhet, the demand for boats has increased as many residents in low-lying areas of Dhaka fear they will suffer the same fate if the water level in the surrounding canals continues to rise. This photo was taken yesterday. Photo: Helemul Alam

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Boat builders busy at work at Kayetpara market. In light of the flooding situation in Sylhet, the demand for boats has increased as many residents in low-lying areas of Dhaka fear they will suffer the same fate if the water level in the surrounding canals continues to rise. This photo was taken yesterday. Photo: Helemul Alam

Md Razib Hossain, a resident of Daseshkandi under Khilgaon thana, came to Kayetpara bazaar in the capital yesterday to buy a boat with his brother.

Razib, who had never bought a boat before, spent around Tk 6,000 to buy one. He said he will have to spend another 2000 Tk to make it functional.

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The severity of the flooding situation in Sylhet prompted them to make the purchase, fearing that a similar situation could occur in low-lying areas of Dhaka, he said.

“Several feet of water have already accumulated over the last week in Fakirkhali under Khilgaon thana. That’s why I decided to buy a boat so that our family can weather the worst,” said Md Hasan Ali , who bought a boat for Tk 14,000.

Photo: Helemul Alam

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Photo: Helemul Alam

He said 1.5 km of the main road stretching from Ederkandi to Fakirkhali was under water on Sunday and they depended solely on boats to get around.

Many like them have visited the nearly 150-year-old Kayetpara Boat Market, located beneath Khilgaon thana. The area falls under Ward 75 of Dhaka South City Corporation.

Md Rony, a boat builder said: “During the dry season we used to make five to seven boats in a week but now we make 30 due to demand.”

He said demand had started to increase over the past three months and even more over the past week.

There are five boat makers who usually make around 20 boats a day and sell them in different parts of the country, especially in the outskirts of Dhaka, Rony said.

“We are busy making boats from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day at present and we can make four boats a day,” said Md Joy Miah, another boat builder.

He said they sold about 18 boats last week.

Mohammad Anowar Hossain, another boat trader, said the price of the boat ranges between Tk 3,500 and Tk 15,000.

“We are making a boat out of Chambal wood, because Garjan wooden boats are very expensive. These boats last two to three years,” he said.

Abdur Rahman (75), a boatman who has operated on the Norai canal from Meradia ghat to Trimohoni since 1988, said he also bought a boat in the first week of May at a price of Tk 20,000.

“The water in the Norai Canal which joins the Balu River downstream is increasing. There is a risk of flooding in low-lying areas if the water level increases,” he said.

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