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11 August, 2015 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 August, 2015 02:53:55 AM
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Tk 2,000cr project to purchase dredgers

Many smell a rat

We need dredgers, but the necessity of procuring 26-inch dredgers is not clear
Anisur Rahman Khan with Jagaran Chakma
Many smell a rat

Many smell a rat over the shipping ministry’s move to procure twenty 26-inch dredgers at a cost of about Tk 2,000 crore as these dredgers are not suitable for operation in most of the waterways of the country. The ministry has sent a project titled ‘Procurement of 20 dredgers with ancillary equipments and accessories’ to the planning commission and it is likely to be tabled in today’s meeting of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC). It has been alleged that the dredging procurement project has been taken up to satisfy a certain dredging manufacturer group.
The move has been made despite objections from experts in Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA). Even the finance minister had raised questions over the procurement. Experts said the procurement of 26-inch dredgers under the BIWTA would be illogical because they would only be able to dredge waterways whose depths are equal to or more than 10 feet. At present, there are only 690-km of 10-feet deep waterways, out of a total 6,000-km waterways under the BIWTA across the country, which are hardly required to be dredged, according to BIWTA sources.
“We need dredgers, but the necessity of procuring 26-inch dredgers is not clear,” BIWTA Chairman Commodore Mohammad Mozammel Haque admitted while asked over the issue.
The government should take initiatives to conduct a full study on the country’s rivers before procuring the dredgers, a senior official in the shipping ministry, preferring anonymity, told The Independent. The sources also said 26-inch dredgers are mainly used for filling purposes, not for navigational dredging.
“A study is needed before procuring such big size dredgers. It should be also examined whether the 26-inch dredger is required for the BIWTA or their dredging purposes. The depth of water in country’s major rivers is very poor during dry season. So, moving of such dredgers needs over 10-feet deep waterways,” Humayun Kabir, former chief engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board told The Independent.  
According to the project summary, 20 dredgers will be procured for the BIWTA to conduct dredging of 232.50 lakh cubic metres per year.
Planning commission sources said the Ministry of Shipping had sent the Details Project Plan (DPP) on October 15, 2014 to the commission and the project evaluation committee recommended on April 23 this year to place the DPP in the ECNEC meeting for approval by the country’s economic apex body.
BIWTA will implement the project at a cost of Tk 2,048 crore from July 2015 to December 2019.
Under the project, BIWTA will procure 26-inch curter section six dredgers, 20 inch curter section nine dredgers, 18 inch curter section five dredgers, five oil barge, four water barge, 3200 shore pipe, 20 crane boats, eight tug boat, 20 crew house boat, eight officers house boat, five inland survey vessel, 10 survey work boats, 12 pipe carrying barge, 1600 floating pipe, 100 pairs ball socket, 500 rubber hose pipe, one pick up, one jeep

and one microbus. On January 16, 2012, finance minister AMA Muhith had written to the planning ministry, asking for a report on the procurement of dredgers and dredging activities in the government sector. Muhith, in his letter, had proposed that the size of government-owned dredger fleet should be kept to a bare minimum. However, the ministry concerned apparently did not pay attention to the letter.
The main object of the project is to develop the navigability of dead and dying inland waterways by dredging for smooth and safe plying of cargo and passengers vessels.
The BIWTA sources said the rivers of Bangladesh discharge about 5 million cusecs of water during the flood and 2.4 billion tons of silts are flown annually through the rivers which is 18.5 per cent of the total silts of the world.
As a result, most of the rivers are gradually dying and in this respect it is very much essential to develop the waterways for socio-economic development of the country, sources said.
BIWTA sources said the country had 24,000 km long waterways in the past, but silting of river-beds hampered navigability of the water ways. At present, the country has only 5,968 km navigable waterways during the monsoon while 3,865 km during the dry season.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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