A key river system of the country in Bogura, Gaibandha and Sirajganj is going to see a massive dredging work in a bid to prevent flooding and river erosion in the northern districts.
The government will spend nearly Tk 2,336 crore to dredge or re-excavate 217 kilometre-long Bangali-Karatoa-Fuljor-Hurasagar river system that turns dry during lean period and becomes furious during rains because of silting and overflowing.
The major scheme has already been okayed by the highest economic policy making authority headed by the prime minister.
The move came at a time when concerns ran high over river erosion and loss of lives and destruction of vast localities both in southern and northern parts of the country during last rainy season.
Water resources ministry officials informed that a major reason behind the initiative was to revive the important river system and bring back its normal navigability to make it a suitable water route alongside improving fisheries in the region.
Enhancing agricultural production through increasing use of surface water, refilling underground water level, improving water discharge system and ecology and upgrading socioeconomic conditions of local people are at the goals of the initiative, they said.
The important northern river system has a total stretch of 217km through different parts of Bogura, Sirajganj and Gaibandha districts with 165 metres average width before its fall in the Jamuna River.
The natural water flow starts declining in winter season and becomes nearly nil in the months of November and December. As a result, silt has developed in the riverbed, squeezing space for water flow.
As an excessive meandering river system with huge silt, it overflows during the rainy season, flooding localities of river embankments in the region.
The rain water flow is much more than the river system’s current capacity, which creates huge river erosion in its concaves, resulting in huge loss of many establishments in the rivers every year.
For the last few years, houses, roads, arable lands, educational institutions and religious establishments were lost in the areas of the river system and more establishments are likely to be washed away if the trend continues, the ministry officials said.
They also informed that the project has been undertaken in compliance with a recommendation made by a technical committee formed by Bangladesh Water Development Board in October last year to resolve the problem.
Under the scheme, 11.74 crore cubic metres dredging or re-excavation will be done in 217km stretch of the river system and 35.170km river banks will be protected alongside conducting foundation treatment for 22 bridges, they added.
Bangladesh Water Development Board will implement the project during January 2019-June 2022 period with the fund entirely coming from the state coffer.