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7 May, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 7 May, 2019 12:15:19 AM
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Buriganga revival yet to make progress

ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN, Dhaka
Buriganga revival yet 
to make progress

The Buriganga river restoration project, which was taken up in 2010 by the Bangladesh Water Development Board (WDB), has virtually failed to take off even after spending Tk. 330 crore in the last nine years for various reasons. According to green activists and experts, the project could have been completed in time had it been implemented by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) as it has the expertise and logistics to do such work.

Six years since the project work began, WDB officials, in 2016, proposed construction of a sediment basin in the offtake of the New Dhaleswari river. The deadline of the project, which was scheduled to be completed by December 2013, has been extended thrice, pushing up the total project cost to Tk. 1,125 crore from Tk. 944 crore.

So far, no visible work has been done by the WDB, though it has already spent Tk. 330 crore till date, sources concerned said.

The WDB had taken up the 162-km-long New Dhaleswari-Pungli-Bangshi-Turag-Buriganga River System Project in April, 2010, to clean up the rivers girdling the city and restore navigation by bringing fresh water from the Jamuna to the Buriganga.

A total of 68 hectares will be needed to construct the sediment basin at the mouth of the New Dhaleswari, Saidul Islam Khan, executive engineer (central zone) of WDB, told The Independent yesterday. “A total of Tk. 330 crore has been spent for dredging the river till date. About 55.91 km was manually dredged from the offtake of the Dhaleswari via the Pungli to the Basail in Tangail through excavators. Besides, 6.95 km of the Turag was dredged as well. In addition, dredging work on a 15-km-long stretch at Kaliakoir in Gazipur is also on,” he added.

All steps have been taken to construct a 1.53-km-long sediment basin in the offtake of the New Dhaleswari, Khan said, adding that the ministry concerned has already instructed the local administration to acquire 68 hectares for the sediment basin.

“We have already sent the development

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project profile (DPP) to the planning commission for amendment, keeping the project cost unchanged. We have received the

estimate of land acquisition. So, it would be possible to make the project work visible by 2020,” Khan claimed.

Asked about the failure to complete the project in time, Khan said: “We are working on the project, which is likely to be completed by 2021.”

Talking to this correspondent, officials of the Tangail district administration said they have already received the land

acquisition proposal from the WDB and completed all the formalities in this regard.

“We think WDB officials didn’t make their design properly. It was a faulty design. They should explain why they failed to complete the project in time,” Abu Naser Khan, chairman of Poribesh Bachao Andolan (POBA), told this correspondent.

He alleged that some WDB officials are involved in making money by  renting out their dredgers. “The WDB has at least 39 dredgers. Why are they doing dredging work through private dredgers? Is their any necessity to keep this dredger fleet spending crores of taka?” he wondered.

The WDB has virtually failed to complete the project despite extending the project period several times, Emdadul Haque Badsa, a river researcher, told this correspondent. The dredging performance of the BIWTA

is better compared to the WDB. “So, had the project been implemented by the BIWTA, it would

have been completed in time,” he said.

The government had taken up the project to clean up highly polluted rivers such as the Buriganga, Turag, Balu and the Shitalkhya by injecting fresh water from the Jamuna via the New Dhaleswari, Bangshi and the Pungli through a 162-km-long lifeline. The project was meant to revive the near extinct aquatic life of the Buriganga as well as restore the livelihood of local fishermen.

However, the WDB began the project in 2010 on the basis of a poor feasibility study done by the Institute of Water Modelling (IWM), said a source.

 

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build schools, stadium The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) is implementing a Tk 1,923 crore project for restoring 24 important river routes (first phase) as part of a priority dredging project announced…

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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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