CHATTOGRAM: Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has relaunched the much-awaited capital dredging work in Karnaphuli channel of Chittagong Port after five years.
Once implemented, the Tk 2.42-billion Sadarghat to Bakolia Char Dredging Project, undertaken by CPA, will make the port channel more navigable. It will also help reduce water-logging in the port-city.
E-Engineering Ltd, an enterprise of Bangladesh Navy, started dredging work at Bakolia Khetrachar in the upstream of Karnaphuli River on Tuesday.
Under the project, the firm will excavate and remove 4.2 million cubic feet of sand from the river-bed. Progress of the project is likely to be visible by the end of this dry season, if nature favours, said sources concerned.
It is the second capital dredging project in the port channel. In 2011, CPA awarded the first dredging project to Malaysian Maritime and Dredging Corporation through an open tender at a cost of Tk 2.29 billion.
The project was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. Following slow work progress, CPA extended its implementation period by one year to 2014.
But the Malaysian company completed only 56 per cent of the total project work through its local contractor Pacific Marine Services, and left the dredging unfinished.
Subsequently, CPA cancelled the contract with it. Then the company filed a writ petition with High Court, and ultimately got the verdict in its favour.
Sources said litigation over the capital dredging project is yet to be settled, as the legal process in the case is still going on.
Meanwhile, the river-bed of Karnaphuli channel got silted, as the capital dredging remained suspended for a long time. Currently, vessels with over 190 metre length cannot enter the channel.
CPA has taken up the new capital dredging project, considering its necessity and urgency of the situation.
Project Director Commander M Arifur Rahman said under the new project, the contractor will conduct capital dredging for one year, and regular dredging for the following three years.
He said Bangladesh Navy has already procured two sophisticated IHC dredgers from the Netherlands at a cost of Tk 1.30 billion. These will be able to remove silt from up to 14 meters depth in the river bed.
The lifted silt will be taken away from the dredged area and piled up five kilometres away from the channel with HDPE rubber pipe, floater and hosepipe.
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