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Plan to revitalise water bodies for irrigation

Published : 29 Dec 2021 09:58 PM

The government wants to ensure irrigation facilities round the year by increasing the capacity of rivulets, canals and reservoirs to hold water constantly.

To this end, the second amendment proposal of the project titled “Re-excavation of small rivers, canals and reservoirs in 64 districts (first phase)” has been sent to the Planning Commission.

The Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting on the proposal was held on December 23.

It was presided over by Ramendra Nath Biswas, Member (Secretary), Department of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Institutions.

According to the Planning Commission, the project was approved by ECNEC for implementation from November 2018 to December 2020 at an estimated cost of Tk 2,279.54 crore.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Water Resources approved the implementation of the first revised RDPP (Revised Development Project Proposal) for the period from November 2018 to December this year at an estimated cost of Tk 2,271.13 crore.

At present, the second amendment to the project has been proposed by increasing 668 works under the project.

According to the proposed amendment, the total estimated cost of the project is Tk 2,269.74 crore, which is Tk 9.80 crore less than the original approved project cost.

Once implemented, the agricultural production will be increased with irrigation facilities in about 150,000 hectares of land.

Besides, the risk of floods and waterlogging will be reduced by conserving biodiversity, increasing the drainage capacity of small rivers, canals and reservoirs in an area of approximately six lakh hectares.

Re-excavation will revitalize small rivers, canals and reservoirs, increase navigability and ensure easy communication of about 2,000 kilometers of navigation.

Fisheries will be promoted by increasing and prolonging the water-holding capacity of small rivers, canals and reservoirs.

Small rivers, canals and reservoirs will be afforested on both the banks and land will be developed on both the banks.

The proposed amendment to the project states that Bangladesh is a riverine country. Numerous rivers are flowing in this country. The area of this country is about 1,46,570 square kilometers. There are rivers, canals, haors, lakes and other smaller waterbodies as well as open waterbodies covering an area of 9,734 sq kms. 

All these canals, rivers and reservoirs contain potable waters. The water of the reservoir is used for agricultural purposes. The need for water to protect biodiversity is immense. 

About 80 percent of the total land area of the country is flooded, which is inundated during the monsoon. 

Due to the climatic and seasonal variability of Bangladesh, floods occur almost every year during the monsoon and the major areas of the country are inundated and waterlogging occurs in many areas including erosion of large and medium river banks. As a result, huge amount of agricultural land, crops, houses and so on are under threat.

An official who attended the PEC meeting said that a total of 448 items (88 small rivers, 352 canals and 8 reservoirs) have been set aside in the original approved DPP for Tk 2,183.35 crore. 

In the first amendment proposal of the project, a provision of Tk. 2,271.13 crore was made for 511 items (100 small rivers, 396 canals and 15 reservoirs). 

At present, the second amendment (proposed) has been allocated for 668 items (109 small rivers, 533 canals and 26 reservoirs) for work. 

Besides, a logical explanation was sought in the meeting of the Ministry of Water Resources regarding the increase in the amount and cost of physical work in these sectors.

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