The cost of the project for conservation and beautification of the rivers surrounding the capital is set to increase more than three times, according to the officials concerned.
To protect Buriganga, Sitalakhya, Turag and Balu rivers from illegal encroachments and give them a makeover, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), which is under the shipping ministry, took up the project involving Tk 8.0 billion.
At a meeting last week, the BIWTA officials told the shipping ministry that the BIWTA needs to revise the project cost upward to Tk 24.30 billion considering the future expansion of the project to build a livable and healthy capital.
"We have already sent the proposal for the revised project cost to the shipping ministry for its approval," project director Md Nurul Alam told the FE.
Once the shipping ministry has given its green signal, the proposal will go to the Prime Minister's Office for scrutiny, he added.
The proposal will then go to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council for final approval.
According to the BIWTA, the project work began in July 2018 and it is expected to end by June 2022.
Buriganga, Sitalakhya, Turag and Balu rivers are considered as the lifeline for the capital city.
Besides, these four rivers have commercial importance for transportation of goods and other river-based economic activities, according to the sector insiders.
Having considered the urgency of the situation, the BIWTA now seeks to raise the project cost in order to build an environment-friendly capital through making the rivers free from pollution and illegal encroachments, a shipping ministry official involved in the process told the FE.
Under the project, boundary pillars will be erected on the banks of the rivers, and walkways, jetties, parks and other relevant infrastructure will be constructed.
During the first phase of the project, the BIWTA has started installing 3,803 boundary pillars on the banks of the rivers.
Besides, work is underway to build 52 km walkways, 40 km walls, three eco-parks, two tourist-friendly parks, three km RCC bridge, 105.12 km railings, six pontoons, 11 RCC jetties, 100 RCC stairs and 409 benches.
Meanwhile, the BIWTA has already been carrying out eviction drives since January last to free the rivers banks from illegal encroachment and pollution.
It has so far recovered 152 acres of land on the banks of the rivers from the land grabbers.
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