Circular waterway getting face-lift


The government is going to give a modern look to the circular waterway project for multidimensional use of the four rivers surrounding Dhaka city.

Some new facilities have been included in the project. One of them is the construction of a parking yard, walkways, passenger canopy, and special type of RCC stairs.

The government has started construction of various infrastructures like walkways on the banks of four rivers- the Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakshya- surrounding Dhaka city, as well as beautification and civic amenities.

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) of the Ministry of Shipping is implementing the project and it proposed an additional Tk 1,032 crore to the Planning Commission for the purpose.

However, it is learnt that the Planning Commission has approved an additional amount of Tk 332.55 crore for the proposal.

Initially, an eco-park, recreation center, benches to sit, food court and necessary toilets will be constructed along the 50km walkway around the river bank.

Besides, the tree planting and tourism industry will be developed in greenery.

Soil excavation work of the project has increased by 13.21 lakh cubic meters, walkway along the river bank has increased by 23.59 km.

In addition, the walkway on columns on the bank of the river has increased by 11.83 km.

For all these reasons, the cost and time of the project is increasing step by step.

According to sources, the project was approved at the ECNEC meeting from July 2018 to June 2022 at a cost of Tk 848.55 crore for the protection of the banks of the Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakshya rivers.

Later, it was proposed to extend the duration of the project till June 2023 in the Physical Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission.

In order to complete the unfinished work of the project, an expenditure of Tk 1,886 crore was proposed.

The Planning Commission meets the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) on the BIWT's proposed project.

The meeting made a number of other decisions on the project, including a re-PEC meeting.

At the meeting, the Planning Commission decided to spend Tk 1,181.10 crore on the project.

Mamun-Al-Rashid, Planning Commission member of the Physical Infrastructure Division, said the project is being revised as this is a good one.

The project will be constructed in the walkway and some entertainment centers, he said adding that it is very useful to the people.

If people walk along the river bank, they will feel better, he mentioned.

“However, the expenditure that BIWTA wanted at first has been reduced. We checked everything properly. We have reduced the cost to a reasonable level. The project will be presented at the next ECNEC meeting,” he added.

Rafique Ahmed Siddique, Joint Secretary (Planning) of the Shipping Ministry, said some new work has been included in the project. As a result, the cost of the project is increasing, he mentioned.

Regarding the increase in project time, he said that work on the project has slowed down due to Covid-19, adding, “I hope, we can implement the project in time.”

According to sources, the revised project will include excavation and removal of 18.21 lakh cubic meters of river filled soil, construction of 33.85 km walkway on the river bank, and construction of walkway on columns on 16.75 km river bank.

Besides, 24.86 km of shore protection work, construction of 80 RCC stairs, construction of 10.04 km of wall, construction of 291 seating benches, 850 meters of boundary wall, four ghats as new limbs, drainage adjacent to 35.35 km walkway will be constructed.

Ancillary activities include construction of 2.65 km of boulder protection, construction of 21,000 sqm parking yard, drainage system of 3 and a half km, construction of 14 jetties and 28 spuds, construction of 3,650 boundary pillars, construction of 3 eco-parks.

However, the archial work has been reduced by 20 km. Besides, the construction work of railings has been reduced by 6,390 km.

The route of the walkway has already been finalized through feasibility study.

The route will be from Abdullahpur to Dhur-Birulia-Gabtali-Rayerbazar-Babubazar-Sadarghat-Fatulla-Chasara-Signboard-Shimrail-Purbachal road to Termukh.

The project is being implemented by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) of the Ministry of Shipping.

The Department of Road Transport and Highways, the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Department of Local Government are jointly taking this work forward.