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17 September, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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4 dredgers pledged by Kuwait emir not delivered in 7 years

ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN
4 dredgers pledged by Kuwait 
emir not delivered in 7 years

A commitment made by the Emir of Kuwait seven years ago, to give four dredgers as a gift to Bangladesh, has not been carried out yet. Allegations have been levelled that that this has happened as there has been no proper communication from the water resources ministry, with the Kuwaiti government also being held responsible for not taking any further steps in this respect.

Kuwait’s Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah had expressed his wish to present four dredgers to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Kuwait in February 2010.

This correspondent tried to find out the latest developments on the issue, but the officials of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and the water resources ministry failed to provide any information in this respect.

In fact, they were all at sea on hearing the question from this correspondent on the issue.

Shawkat Hossain, BWDB’s executive engineer (dredgers), and Shahidul Islam, BWDB’s project director (dredgers), both said they had no idea about the dredgers promised by the Emir of Kuwait.

“When I was the minister for the ministry of water resources, I had sent a proposal to the Kuwaiti authorities. There has been no update in this respect after the completion of my tenure as minister,” Ramesh Chandra Sen, former minister, who is currently the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the water resources ministry, told The Independent.

The ministry should remind the Kuwait government to fulfil the Ameer’s commitment to give four dredgers as a gift to Bangladesh, he added. “In reality, even though all the formalities had been completed seven years ago, we are yet to get the green light from the Kuwaiti government in this connection,” the former minister said.

According to the sources, the modalities related to receiving the dredgers have not been settled yet, as Kuwait is yet to ensure financing of the dredgers while routing them as a gift through the Economic Relations Division (ERD) of Bangladesh.

Abdul Matin, chief engineer of the BIWTA's dredging division, said they had sent a proposal for collecting the gift of dredgers from Kuwait on May 5, 2010, to the foreign ministry, through the shipping ministry.

On December 29, 2010, the shipping ministry had written another letter to the Planning Commission on the Kuwaiti dredgers, he added.

“There has been no update in this respect. The matter is up to the higher authorities now,” Matin said in reply to a query.

According to the project proposal, some Tk. 392 crore would be spent on procuring the four dredgers, along with a crane boat, a tug, a crew

houseboat, an officers’ houseboat and other equipment, from Kuwait. “We have prepared the project in accordance with the directives of the shipping ministry. The estimated cost has been shown only for the sake of records, but the government of Kuwait will present the dredgers free of cost, as it had promised,” Matin said.

He further said a detailed project proposal (DPP) was sent to the shipping ministry on December 29, 2010, while the ERD wrote a letter to Kuwait’s ambassador on July 7, 2011, in this connection.

According to the project proposal, the period for implementation of the project was fixed between January 2011 and December 2012.

“We don’t have any details, such as who is going to pay the taxes and Customs duties. Nor have we received the relevant documents from the Kuwaiti government,” he added.

A meeting of the project evaluation committee (PEC) was held on October 18, 2010, with Planning Commission member Nasir Uddin Ahmed in the chair.

It was decided at the meeting that the word “gift” would be used to describe the mode of financing in the project proposal, while the words “the government of Kuwait” would be listed as the source of the money.

The ERD has formally written letters to the government of Kuwait in this connection, but the sheikhdom has not confirmed anything yet.

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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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