Canal digging project remains stuck for fund crunch | 2019-06-19 |

Canal digging project remains stuck for fund crunch

Salamat Ullah

18th June, 2019 11:01:01 printer

Canal digging project remains stuck for fund crunch

A view of Chattogram City Corporation Bhaban. — sun photo

The project taken by Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) to dig a new canal stretching from the city’s Barai Parra in Bahoddarhat to the river Karnaphuli to ease waterlogging in the port city remains stuck due to fund crisis. 

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in a meeting approved the project involving Tk 1,256.16 crore on November 7 last year.  

Though development works of the canal is scheduled to be completed by June in 2020, the physical works are yet to be started around eight months after the project got approval, said sources.

The concerned authorities said they are yet to start works under the project titled ‘Digging canal from Baroi Para in Bahoddarhat to the river Karnaphuli,’ due to fund crisis as the concerned ministry didn’t release money till now.

Sources in the CCC Engineering department said though the highest amount of Tk 1,103.84 crore of the project is estimated for acquisition of some 25 acres of land, they received no money in this connection till June.   

 However, the sources informed that ‘Central Land Allotment Committee’, a department of the Land Ministry, is working to settle the issue to start digging of the 2.9-kilometre long and 117-feet wide canal.

As per the rule, owners receive money of land acquisition from district deputy commissioner (DC).

The CCC sources said the DC office asked them to pay the total amount of the money for land acquisition before starting the physical works of the project.

As per Development Project Proforma (DPP), the government will provide Tk 942.12 crore while the CCC Tk 314.04 crore for digging the canal, said the sources.

An amount of Tk 16 crore will also be spent as compensation for demolishing 52 semi-pucca and 35 concrete structures during the project works.

The other major works under the project include development of six reinforced cement concrete (RCC) bridges, one sluice gate, 5,500 metre retaining wall, 2,900 metre drain and 5,400 metre footpath.

Contacted, CCC Chief Engineer Lieutenant Colonel Mohiuddin Ahmed told the daily sun that they are yet to start land acquisition for the project as the concerned ministry didn’t release money.

He, however, informed that they procured some equipments for the project from their own fund.

The chief engineer hoped that waterlogging problem of the city’s Bahoddarhat, Chandgaon, Bakolia, Khaja Road and Chaktai areas will be addressed permanently after digging the canal.

Communication system of the areas will also get a new dimension after development of walkway along the canal, Mohiuddin added. 

Mentionable, the city dwellers have been suffering from severe waterlogging caused by heavy downpour in rainy season over the last few years.

The low-lying areas which go under knee-deep to waist-deep water include Sholoshahar Gate No-2, Shulokbahar, Muradpur, Badurtala, Bahoddarhat, Chawk Bazar, Boro Garage, Probortak Morr, Mehedibag, Wasa Morr, Oxygen Morr, Wireless Morr, GEC, Bakolia, Halishahar and CDA Residential Area among others.

Mentionable, the ECNEC approved a mega project titled ‘Canal re-excavation, expansion, renovation and development for addressing the waterlogging in the Chattogram city’ involving Tk 5,616 crore on August 9 in 2017.

The Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) and Bangladesh Army signed a memorandum of understanding for implementing the project on April 9 last year. 

The project works were started formally on April 28 of the same year.

 According to the CDA, some 528,214 cubic-metre soil and 420,000 cubic-metre mud will be dredged from 36 canals under the project.

Three water-bodies will be dug, 10.77 kilometre side drains, 176,000 metre retaining wall, 85 km road and 48 PC girder bridges will be constructed to address the waterlogging, said the sources.

The re-excavation of canals and eviction of illegal structures from the canal banks under the project will be started soon to ease the long-drawn crisis in the rainy season.