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Search date: 11-11-2020 Return to current date: Click here

Silt threatening port channel as Karnaphuli dredging remains stopped for long time

OUR CORRESPONDENT | November 11, 2020 00:00:00

CHATTOGRAM, Nov 10: The capital dredging of the River Karnaphuli has remained stopped for almost four years after the dredging work was started in 2016 with old dredging machine.

Sources at the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) said the capital dredging of the river was again suspended after a brief resumption in the last year, also with some newly-imported but old machines.

They said a set of old and used machines were imported from China to resume the dredging work which was suspended in mid-June 2019 as the machines could not dig deep into the plastic waste-filled thick layer on the river bed.

The machines were imported after the concerned authority approved Tk 2.42 billion to start the capital dredging to increase draft of the river to ensure smooth navigability in the port channel.

Meanwhile, in August this year, the CPA sent a freshly-reviewed detailed project plan (DPP) for the capital dredging to the shipping ministry for its approval.

CPA sources said, the cost of the capital dredging has increased from the original one due to import of the new dredging machines.

Meanwhile, the long time suspension of the capital dredging has increased the pace of siltation in Karnaphuli River, economic lifeline of Bangladesh's business hub Chittagong as well as the country. Besides, the quick siltation of the river is also threatening the navigability of the port channel.

Sources said sands gathered in multiple places in the river including the newly-constructed Karnaphuli Bridge area which has threatened smooth navigability in the port channel.

A CPA official said 25 to 30 per cent work of Karnaphuli capital dredging has been done so far. It will take four more years to complete the whole work if it restarts this year, they added.

Contacted, CPA secretary Mohammed Omar Faruk told the FE that the capital dredging was hampered for several reasons. He said that the dredgers imported earlier from China had failed to dredge the plastic goods from river bed. "So a new set of special dredgers were needed to resume the dredging," he said.

"Our experts reviewed the situation and sent a new DPP in this regard last week. After approval of the DPP by the ministry of shipping, the capital dredging work will be started soon," he added.

The CPA, in association with Bangladesh Navy (BN), is implementing the Tk 242 crore capital dredging project.

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