Master plan to revive Buriganga

The government has undertaken a master plan to revive Buriganga River that is at present almost in death throes. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) under the shipping ministry has taken massive plans to revive Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakhya rivers. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given directives to the authority concerned to revive these rivers.

As part of the master plan, the BIWTA has been conducting a crash programme from January this year to evict illegally constructed structures including many multi-storey buildings to revive the Buriganga. After demolishing over 5000 illegally constructed structures in last six months along both banks of the Buriganga river, the government has recently launched the first phase work of its master plans.

After the directives, the ministry has taken a primary project worth Tk 844.55 crore which has been started January this year and will complete June 2022 to revive Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakhyya, an official of shipping ministry told Bangladesh Post.

“We have undertaken a master plan to revive Buriganga and make like Thames River in London. Under plan, the authority would also create a recreational site at the banks of Buriganga other rivers,” he also said. The cost of the project will be increased. BIWTA has sent a proposal to ministry for increasing the allocation for the project to Tk 2,430 crore for its proper implementation, he added.

Under the project, some 3803 RCC (Reinforced Cement Concrete) boundary pillars, one-kilometer fresh-air walkway from Ramchandrapur to Bosila and Rayerbazar canal to Kamrangirchar and 2.5km walkway will be constructed along the river banks.

BIWTA will construct a 52km fresh-air walkway, 10,820 boundary pillars, three eco parks, two tourists-friendly parks, 19 RCC jetties, 100 RCC stairs and other necessary infrastructures to protect the rivers surrounding the capital. These master plans cover about a 52km stretch from Narayanganj’s Fatullah to Gabtoli.

As planned by the authorities concerned, river-protection green belts will be created on both sides of the river. In future, there will be introduced modern circular bus service on route- franchise basis round the riverbanks. Multilevel walkways and driveways, modern-day circular bus service and boat rides have made the once-stinking Hatirjheel into a much-sought recreation spot for people in this overpopulated capital city.

It is expected that the new scheme on the Buriganga will transform the river into a project like the Hatirjheel project, according to the project. About the matter state minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said the government is determined to restore this one and all the other rivers and canals around and in Dhaka city, by demolishing illegal structures.

"The Buriganga will get back its original looks if we can demolish all illegal structures on both the riverbanks. We will construct walkways at both sides none can grab riverbanks over again," he said.