The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) plans to dredge 666 kilometres of 11 important rivers so that passenger vessels and cargo vessels could navigate the rivers smoothly.
The 11 river routes are-Munshiganj-Taltala-Dohuri, Laharhat-Veduria, Shahaberhat-Tongibari-Laharhut, Sadarghat-Berulia, Paturia-Baghabari, Demra-Ghorashal-Polash, Dhaka-Ramchar-Madaripur, Dhaka-Shariatpur, Chandpur-Nandirbazar-Shikerpur-Hularhat, Hularhat-Charchapli-Gopalganj and Narayanganj-Daudkandi.
An estimated amount of Tk 100 crore would be required for dredging the 11 important rivers for the restoration of navigability of the rivers, BIWTA sources said.
The BIWTA had submitted a two- year project titled ’11 important river routes dredging’ at a cost of Tk 70 crore to the shipping ministry. The ministry asked the BIWTA to submit a revised five-year project, the sources said.
About 666 km routes of the rivers Jamuna, Padma, Meghna, Ichhamati, Arialkhan, Tentulia, Dakatia, Shandha, Kaliganga, Saildaha, Madhumoti, Gumoti, Shitalakhya and Turag would require dredging. Abdul Motin, chief engineer, dredging division of the BIWTA, said: “We are preparing a five year project on 11 important river routes which would require more than Tk100 crore.”
The main component of the project is to dredge rivers to widen the vast network of river routes of the country, he said.
“Maintenance of the waterways is very important to keep it navigable. If we do not regularly maintain the waterways round the year, the water vessel cannot move during the dry season, ” he said.
About 18 new posts, including that of executive engineer, would be created to implement the project, he said adding: “About 15 acres of land would be acquired at a cost of Tk75 lakh and Tk five lakh would be needed for compensation to farmers.” Besides, engineering survey, construction of earthen dyke, dredging work both by the private and BIWTA’s dredgers, ancillary work, construction of Tarja and house boat would be needed for the project, he said. The project would be implemented between July 2010 and June 2015, the sources said.
Bangladesh has about 24,000 km of rivers, streams and canals that together cover about seven per cent of the country’s surface. Most parts of the country are linked by a complex network of waterways.
Out of 24,000 km of rivers, streams and canals only about 5,968 km is navigable by mechanised vessels during the monsoon period which shrinks to about 3,865km during the dry season.