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Rivers from Mongla Port to Rooppur to be dredged

The move aims to facilitate shipment of heavy equipment for power plant

Published : 26 Jan 2021 10:01 PM

A new route has been proposed for dredging in the rivers stretching from Mongla Port to Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) in Sirajganj to ship heavy equipment.

Meanwhile, implementation of river dredging project, proposed in 2017, for smooth transportation of heavy equipment of RNPP from Mongla to Pakshey is going on in full swing.

With this on-going project the river route from Mongla to Pakshey would be deeper allowing bigger vessel with more draft to ply in the entire stretch of the dredged river.

For this the shipping ministry, in the meantime, proposed to enhance 69 percent cost in the river dredging project for smooth transportation of heavy equipment of Rooppur nuclear power plant from Mongla to Pakshey.

“A new navigable route will be dug from Mongla to Pakshey Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant via Chandpur-Mawa- Goalondo,” a senior official of the shipping ministry said.

The added route, proposed recently, would require more fund to dredge and buy some heavy dredging equipment which would eventually help excavate and create deeper riverine route to allow the plying vessels to ship some major equipment for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Sirajganj.

“The total distance of this waterway is 480 kilometers,” he said adding that, “The Ministry of Shipping has proposed to increase the cost of excavation of this route by 69.37 percent or Tk 663.22 crore.”

The total cost of the original project was Tk 956 crore. In the first revised proposal, the total cost of the project has been proposed to be Tk 1,619.22 crore.

The implementation and maintenance period of the project is from July 2017 to June 2025.

Md Ubaydul Haque, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping, said, “The project is ongoing. A proposal to increase the cost of the project has been sent to the Planning Commission but it has not been approved yet.”

“The increase in cost has been proposed mainly due to the increase in the scope of work of the project,” he mentioned.

According to sources, a new decision has been taken to carry out necessary dredging of waterways from Chittagong and Mongla seaports to Rooppur. 

In the light of the decision, the navigability of Ganga, Padma, Baleshwar and Kancha rivers flowing from Chandpur-Mawa-Goalondo to Pakshey will be improved. 

However, only 60 to 65 kilometers of waterways have to be excavated.

According to Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) sources, the cost of the project is being increased for various reasons. 

Increasing the cost of manpower, installation of ancillary equipment including naval auxiliary buoy lights, implementation of the sector through BIWTA instead of the Directorate of Naval Welfare, increase in the quantity and cost of navigation equipment. 

The new sectors include travel allowances, training at home and abroad, eco-sounders and GPS, motorcycles, office furniture, water filters, stand fan inclusions, cabin cruisers instead of speed boats.

The project has been proposed to be revised due to increase in quantity and cost of maintenance dredging, increase in number of computers, increase in quantity and cost of office equipment, increase in cost of crop compensation and other ancillary reasons. 

Under the project, 870 km survey, 100 hectare crop compensation, 200 lakh cubic meter engineering survey, 537 lakh cubic meter maintenance dredging and bamboo piling and tarja fence will be constructed.

This initiative has been taken with the aim of setting up an overall transport management system up to the nuclear power plant. 

The Ministry of Shipping will set up a navigation aid at a depth of 4.2 to 4.5 meters (draft) suitable for the operation of large vessels to facilitate the transportation of heavy equipment to Rooppur. 

The import of nuclear power plant equipment will start by sea route. Lighting systems will also be upgraded to international standards as heavy equipment will have to be transported even during the night.