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8 May, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 May, 2017 12:16:58 AM
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Mongla channel’s navigability

Excavation of 83 canals a must

ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN from Mongla, Bagerhat
Excavation of 83 canals a must

It will be difficult to keep the navigability of the Mongla-Ghashiakhali channel if the 83 canals linked with it are not excavated immediately. The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) is also facing problems to dump dredge spoils due to funds crunch.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally opened the channel for cargo movement on October 27 last year, even though the BIWTA had opened the channel on May 6, 2015 for the movement of eight-feet draught cargo vessels on trial basis. The BIWTA has dredged the 22-km-long Mongla-Ghashiakhali at a cost of Tk. 200 crore.
A total of 53,770 vessels have passed through the channel since it was opened in May 2015. Of them, 18,797 vessels are with above 12-feet draught and 34,973 are with six-to-eight feet draught.
During a visit to the channel, it was found that 12–14 feet draught vessels are passing through the channel without any hitch.
At least 60 vessels passed through the Mongla-Ghashiakhali channel yesterday till filling of the report at 3pm.
“We may be able to dump dredge spoils for one more year. But it won’t be possible to manage the dredge spoils from 2018 if the deposited spoils are not removed from the dyke,” Saidur Rahman, superintendent engineer of the BIWTA, said.
Expressing concern, Rahman said if the canals were not re-excavated by the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) immediately, it would be difficult to maintain the channel’s navigability.“The channel will remain navigable if the BWDB constructs two tidal basins and re-excavate 83 connecting canals in accordance with the government’s decision,” he added.
Seven dredgers have been deployed for maintenance dredging, Rahman said, adding that Tk. 100 crore is needed annually for maintenance dredging.
The Bangladesh Navy has been implementing the maintenance dredging in the channel, and BIWTA officials have been monitoring the dredging work regularly.
This artificial route is a short river channel that provides access to the Mongla Port. The Mongla-Ghasiakhali river route has been defunct since 2010. Movement of vessels has also been stopped because of huge siltation, which made the river non-navigable.
This route was constructed and opened by the BIWTA in November, 1973, to maintain the link between Mongla sea port, Khulna and Noapara with other parts of the country. “We’ve allowed 12–14 feet draught ships to ply during high tide on the Mongla-Ghashiakhali channel. The navigability of the channel has improved after dredging,” Saidur Rahman said.
BIWTA officials are, however, worried about maintaining the navigability of the channel due to rapid formation of silt. The government HAS expedited the dredging work of the channel after a tanker named OT Southern Star 7, carrying 357,668 litre of furnace oil, sank in the Shela river at Mrigmari area in the Sundarbans after being hit by a cargo vessel on December 9, 2014.

 

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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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