Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has recovered 1,200 km of waterways by river dredging across the country.
This resulted in the opening up of water transports along the waterway.
On the other hand, 5,000 acres of non-agricultural land has been converted into agricultural land using the soil dredged from the riverbed.
Besides, around 500 low-lying lands of religious and educational institutions, playgrounds, stadiums, cemeteries, churches and temples have been filled.
About 10km of low-lying area has been filled in the haor area to provide livestock rearing and habitat for local residents.
The waterways were recovered under the first phase of the excavation project of 12,000 km. Here 24 rivers have been dredged across 53 waterways.
BIWTA sources said that the Tk 1,923 crore project would remove 997 lakh cubic meter of soil and free up 2,386km of waterway.
It is known, Mongla-Ghoshiyakhali waterway was reopened in 2015 through the second modification of Capital Dredging on 53 inland waterways across the country.
At present, 1,39,000 vessels travel across this waterway at a depth of 8-14 feet. At present, the lowest depth of the channel is 12 feet stretching 200-300 in breadth.
In the navigational crisis, the cargo launches could not be operated along Khagadon, Laukathi, Bhola Nala, Kirthankhola, Ichamati and Karnatali.
Now, it has become possible for cargo water transports to travel along these waterways.
BIWTA officials said that the poor people of the village have been provided about 10km land in Taherpur, Biswampur, Madan, Nikli, Gaglajore-Dharmapasha, Mohanganj, Bancharampur, etc. for habitation and livestock rearing.
Project Director and BIWTA Additional Chief Engineer (Dredging) said Md Saidur Rahman said that the waterways were being dredged through public and private dredgers.
Through this project, 2,386km of waterways will be recovered. The project will be completed by June 2021.
Currently, 33 dredgers on 16 routes are employed for dredging.
MG Channels, Khagdon, Laukathi, Bhola Nala, Kirthankhola, Titas, Surma, Baulai, Notun Nodi, Rokti, Raksha Nala, Magra, Kangso, Vogai-Kangso, Buri, Ichamati, Karnatali, Palardi, Dhaleswari, Kaliganga, Madhumati, Bhoirab, Atrai, Dudhkumar, Narsingdi district, old Brahmaputra and Aryal Kha river have been excavated so far.
BIWTA sources said the project was approved by ECNEC in 2012. The revised cost of the project is Tk 1,923 crore and the time period is set at July 2012 to June 2021.
The progress of the project so far is 68 percent. The financial expenditure is Tk 1,075 crore.
In the current fiscal, an allocation of Tk 200 crore has been made.
Currently, private dredgers dredged 474.74 lakh cubic meters of soil while BIWTA’s own dredgers worked on 70.70 lakh cubic meters and excavators dug up around 25 lakh cubic meters.
This put the total around 570.44 lakh cubic meter of soil being dredged out freeing up 1,200km of waterway.
Out of the 24 water routes where work is continuing, work has been completed on eight routes and work is underway on 16 routes.
Of these, the progress of 10 routes is more than 70 percent and work on three routes is at 50 percent and work has begun on three routes.
Commodore M Mahbub-ul-Islam, departing chairman of BIWTA, said that river dredging was underway across the country under capital dredging of 53 water routes.
The project will be completed by June 2021. Under this project, last year, 600km of waterway was dredged.
This project of Tk 1,923 crore will free up 2,386km of waterway through dredging 997 lakh cubic meter of soil.