14 bridges to be rebuilt

Dhaka circular waterway

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Author / Source: Anisur Rahman Khan
The government has taken an initiative to reconstruct the low-height
bridges around the capital in a bid to make the circular waterway
viable.  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had directed the authorities to
reconstruct or re-install the low bridges on the Balu, Turag, Buriganga,
Pungli and Bongshi rivers without delay to make the circular route

The government had taken up the project to ensure smooth sailing of
vessels to keep the waterways navigable round the year to help reduce
land traffic.

Fourteen low bridges between Ashulia and Kanchpur are
major obstacles to the circular waterways. They include the Ashulia Dour
Bridge, Kamarpara Bridge, Tongi Bridge, Tongi railway bridges I and II
and the Birulia Bridge on the Turag.
“Low bridges on the city’s rivers
should be reconstructed or re-installed for multipurpose use of the circular waterways. Besides, decision on low
bridges should be taken after elaborate scrutiny,” Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina told the authorities at a meeting on July 27.
She also
asked the authorities to deploy small dredgers and continue dredging
work using buster pipes in case of low bridges, demolition of illegal
structures on river banks and construction of eco-parks in their place
for people’s recreation.
The circular waterways phase-2 around Dhaka
city was completed on June 30 last year at a cost of Tk 65 crore. The
circular waterways around the city are yet to become functional even
after completion of the second phase of dredging, officials of the
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) told The Independent
“The authorities are yet to make an effort to reconstruct
or re-install the low bridges. If the height of the 14 bridges in
question is not raised as per standard flood water level, water
transport, mainly passenger launches, would not be able to pass beneath
them. It would defeat the very purpose of the project,” project
director, Rakibul Islam Talukder of the BIWTA told The Independent.
BIWTA took up phase-2 as the Prime Minister’s priority project at a
cost of Tk. 65 crore. Despite repeated attempts, the minister for road
transport and bridges Obaidul Quader could not be reached for comment.
Incidentally, phase-I of the project was completed during the reign of
the BNP-led four-party alliance at a cost of Tk. 42 crore when 11
landing stations were constructed, but most of
them remained unused. Some of them were refurbished for use when the
water bus service was introduced
on August 28, 2010.
government has also spent Tk 13.72-crore to remove 7.25 lakh cubic
metres of garbage from a three-and-a-half-km stretch of the Buriganga,
and its tributary Turag, under the ‘Removal of Garbage and Polythene’
project to keep the city rivers clean and for healthy journey for the
It also removed garbage, including plastic bottles, polythene
bags, coconut shells and other solid wastes, from the Buriganga and the
Turag as part to
keep the circular waterways operational round the year.
total of 35 lakh cubic metres of silt has been cleared from the city
rivers. Besides, two landing stations at Ichapur and Kayetpara, and a
land port at Tongi has also been constructed under the circular
waterways project.
The government spent Tk 3.22 crore for construction of a land port and
Tk 72 lakh for construction of two landing stations.
The BIWTA had taken up the Tk 65-crore work as one of the priority projects of the Prime Minister.
the project, about 110 kilometre waterway was supoosed to be made
navigable while 40km of the total stretch was naturally navigable.
BIWTC, meanwhile, shut down its water bus service on the circular
waterway in Feb 2012 as the service failed to attract the city people.
Two 35-seat waterbuses were inaugurated on August 28, 2010 to ply the
Sadarghat-Showary Ghat-Kholamura-Gabtoli route to travel around the
congested city as well as to ease the city’s traffic congestion.