CHATTOGRAM: More than 60 per cent of works of capital dredging of Karnaphuli River have been completed after the project was started afresh by Bangladesh Navy in April this year, sources said.
Stopped multiple times in the last three years since the project started in 2018, officials said works of the project will be implemented within July 2022 as the deadline has got a one-year extension from the previously set deadline of July 2021.
Bangladesh Navy is executing the Tk 2.95 billion (Tk 295 crore) project taken up by Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) to increase the navigability of river Karnaphuli, the lifeline of Chittagong Port, the country's prime seaport.
Talking with the FE, Chief Hydrographer of CPA Commander Arifur Rahman said, "The deadline of the project has now been extended by one year to July 2022."
Sources said four lighterage jetties, which were set up earlier under the project, have already gone into operation.
Commander Rahman said, "The dredging work has been expedited as most of the plastic wastes, including polythene, one of the major problems for the project, have been removed."
"More than 11 per cent work had been completed in each month since May this year. I hope the dredging work will be completed before the freshly set schedule time," he added.
Noting that dredging was severely hampered multiple times for thick layer of plastic goods on the river bed and coronavirus outbreak in 2020 and earlier this year, CPA Secretary Omar Faruk on Saturday said more than 60 per cent of work of the project had been done.
After Bangladesh Navy was handed over the task in April to execute the project, work is progressing at a satisfactory level, he said, adding "We hope the total dredging work will be completed within March next year, before the July deadline."
Replying to a question, he said that besides plastic wastes and a series of coronavirus-induced holidays and lockdown, the dredging was also hampered as imported dredgers failed to dredge the plastic goods from the river bed. "So, we needed new, special type of dredgers to do that work. Now, the dredging is going in full swing."
The Cabinet Committee on the government's purchase (CCGP) approved the Revised Development Project Proposal (RDPP) of the capital dredging project at the end of April. An inter-ministerial meeting earlier cleared the RDPP with an estimated cost of Tk 295 crore.